Cool Cars: Mercedes-Benz 190 Evolution II

The wolf in wolfs’ clothing

This car is a perfect example of how a company’s constant refining of its product can be the realisation of a true classic.

MB 190E Evolution II

In 1983, Mercedes debuted a sports version of its 190 model, badging it the ECE. The car developed 185 bhp, and did 0–60 mph in 7.5 seconds. Two years later, the car was recognised for its racing potential, and by 1987 it was a fully-fledged German TCC (DTM) competitor. Engine size was bored out to 2.5 litres in 1988, resulting in a small power increase, and more solid performance.

However, it wasn’t until Mercedes unveiled the homologation version – the 2.5 litre 16 valve Evolution I – that Daimler-Benz started supporting the private teams that had started racing the 190 in previous years. The public acknowledgment of the car’s ability was a result of D-B’s modifications to the running gear to ensure it was entirely racetrack-ready.

Demand for the 190 Evolution I was high, and Mercedes realised that it was almost a foregone conclusion that an even more powerful version would sell just as well. The 190 E 2.5–16 Evolution II was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1990. Boasting a 30% increase in output from the 190 ECE, the car’s 235 bhp took it to 60 mph in just 7 seconds. As if that wasn’t enough, race teams were able to tune to EVO II to produce well over 300 bhp, and reach speeds of 190 mph. The height-adjustable suspension gave the car superb handling, allowing it to dominate the DTM in the early 1990s.

The significant bodywork modifications on the EVO II were naturally functional, but also made the car stand out from both its sister models, and its DTM rivals. Nobody buying one of these cars at the time wanted onlookers to be in any doubt as to what lay under the bonnet. The EVO II is a classic brute in all its glory, and the forerunner to every super-saloon ever since.

For: DTM heritage, its raw Teutonic power and poise, kudos from knowing petrolheads.

Against: Almost everyone else will think you’ve just slapped big spoilers on a cheap Mercedes.

Coolness: 70%

Agree? Disagree? Leave a response in the comments.

Next in the series: the BMW Z1…

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