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The Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16 is the perfect starter Euro tuner car

Mercedes-Benz made its reputation building big, solid cars favored by the affluent and the famous. But by the late 1970s the company faced mounting competition in the emerging “compact executive car” segment from the likes of Audi, BMW, and Saab, and knew it had to respond. It did so brilliantly with the 190E, a Baby Benz that offered the fit-and-finish of its bigger, more expensive models in a surprisingly sporty package.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/26/mercedes-190e-is-perfect-starter-euro-car

Cosworth V-8? Maybe Cosworth twin cam 16V?

@combsdl - We actually just posted the fix on that one. There was no Cosworth V-8 in a 190E.

Not going to lie, I immediately went to google it, just to make sure I wasn’t crazy. I’m more of a vintage BMW guy.

Kyle,if MB increased engine size to 2.3 liter in 1984,what year/years range is bringing the most attention and rise in value?

I’ve always ben a fan of the 190E,and 280 SL. Currently having all my dough wrapped up in a 1962 190Sl restoration,I don’t have the financial opportunity to jump on the 190E,…yet.

I just realized that the stock rim is exactly like my R129 500SL rim…

@bekeister - The Cosworth 2.3-16 and “standard” 2.3-16 190E models are currently valued the same according to our valuation experts. The changes were minimal from '84 through the rest of the run, so I would reccomend the best condition you can afford Cosworth car. They are out there!

I had a Mercedes 190 back in the day. It was junk I had 8 power windows replaced and two transmission replace under warranty. My wife loved the car and it was a fun car to drive. When it was not at the dealership being repaired. Sold the car at 18k .

Kyle, there is no such thing as a “Cosworth” 2.3-16. All 190E 2.3-16s had cylinder heads designed and engineered by Cosworth (and the early ones were also produced by Cosworth, before Mercedes eventually moved production in-house.)

There were two versions of this M102.983 engine — the “ECE” (European-spec) engine with 185 PS (182 hp), and the “KAT” (Catalytic-converter) version of the engine, which had 167 hp. The U.S.-spec car was sold for the 1986 and 1987 model years only, and there was a headlight change for the 1987, going from sealed-beam to semi-flush headlights.

There were, however, major changes to the W201 16-valve, but not for the U.S. market. It was replaced with a 190E 2.5-16, a stroked version of the engine used for the street, and then two 2.5-16 Evolution versions, which used a different 2.5-liter homologated for racing like the original 2.3 was.