Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16V vs BMW M3 E30

Classic comparison Mercedes 190E 2.5-16
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Car magazine sister newspaper Classic Car Weekly made a a fascinating comparison between two heroes of `80s: Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16V and BMW M3 E30.

The comparison from Classic Car Weekly put face to face a Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Cosworth and BMW M3 E30.

The article is a dialogue between Car authors Tim Pollard and CJ Hubbard.

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The CJ Hubbart about Mercedes 190E 2.5-16: “The engine seemed astonishingly torquey to me, making for a relaxed and rapid cruiser, rather than an outright laser-guided missile. Especially with that enormous steering wheel. I loved the interior, though – how about those incredible bucket rear seats?”.

And Tim Pollard said: “Those snug-fitting rear bucket seats in the Cosworth are fabulous. Never seen anything like them before. And the 190 feels bulletproof. A reminder that Merc know how to do quality when they put mind on it.”

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And the authors mention that the test car 190E 2.5-16 has 160,000 miles on board, meanwhile BMW M3 E30 given by BMW UK has only half of this mileage.

You can find full comparison Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 vs BMW M3 E30 on 

Here are some informations about performance versions of Mercedes 190E: 190E 2.3-16 and 190E 2.5-16 with its performance variants Evo I and Evo II.

The sporty version of 190E was born as a result of Mercedes participation in the DTM motor sport series. The rules of that times specified that the cars which participate in DTM had to be based on a roadgoing model.

Following this rule, Mercedes presented at Frankfurt Motorshow in September 1983 a high performance 190E fitted with a detuned version of the Cosworth engine for DTM.

The 190 E 2.3-16 Cosworth engine was based on the M102 four cylinder 2.3 litre 8 valve with 136 HP from the 190 and E-Class series version and delivered 185 HP/6,000 rpm and 235 Nm/4,500 rpm. The rev limiter was set to 7,000 rpm. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h took 7.5 seconds, meanwhile maximum speed was 230 km/h.
The engine was combined with a 5 speed manual Getrag gearbox, the same used in the BMW M3 E30. Later, in 1985, Mercedes offered as an option an automatic 4 speed transmission for 190E 2.3-16. In 1986, an optional version with catalytic converter delivered 170 HP.

The 190E 2.3-16 had as standard a 32% limited slip differential and multilink rear suspension.

Five years later, in 1988, Mercedes replaced the engine with the new 2.5 litre which deliver 195 HP in the version with catalytic converter, which represent 25 HP more than old version with catalytic convertor. A 204 HP non catalyst version was offered but only very few were sold.

In case of the new 2.5 liter engine, the cylinder head was made by Mercedes and not by Cosworth. The 2.5 liter engine has a longer stroke of 87.20 mm compared with 80.25 mm in the old engine.

The new 190E 2.5-16 benefit of the facelift of 190 series and was available with an electronically controlled, hydraulically locking differential from the standard 15% to 100%.

After BMW launched the M3 E30, Mercedes gave the answer with two other versions: 190 E 2.5-16 Evo I and Evo II launched at Geneva Motorshow in 1989 and 1990.

Evo I has a modified engine with a shorter stroke and a larger bore but the power was the same, 195 HP. The rev limiter increased from 7,000 rpm to 7,250 rpm. Who want  more could get the AMG PowerPack which offered 30 HP more and raised the maximum power to 225 HP and the rev limiter to 7,700 rpm.

Evo II delivered 235 HP and was the most powerful 190E of all times. Only 500 units were produced all numbered from 001/500 to 500/500.