After a development period of eight years, Mercedes-Benz presented the new and rather compact Mercedes-Benz 8 on December 1982, 190. The 201 series became the new Baby-Benz. Daimler-Benz AG had experimented with this phenomenon before, but it never led to series production. During the early 190s, however, the time was ripe for a new, smaller model from Das Haus. And that became the completely newly developed Mercedes-Benz XNUMX.
With the newcomer, Mercedes-Benz introduced a new design philosophy. The classic shapes were given an aerodynamic touch, and in fact this was also the first Mercedes-Benz where chrome parts were largely omitted. A distinctive detail was also the large single windscreen wiper, which worked extremely effectively. A masterpiece was the new multi-link rear axle, which debuted on the Baby-Benz. That was a technical tour de force in which five separate rods per rear wheel and attached to a subframe ensured an optimal wheel position, simply put. The front axle was simpler in cut, but worked well with the rear axle. Mercedes-Benz installed a torsion stabilizer both at the front and at the rear.
Expansion of the factory in Sebaldsbrück
For the production of the new Mercedes-Benz, Daimler-Benz opened a new factory in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück, the place where, for example, the T-Modell of the 123 series was also produced. The arrival of the new 190 (Baureihe 201) not only resulted in new construction, but also provided a tremendous boost to employment.
New diesel engine
The Mercedes-Benz W201 came on the market with four-cylinder petrol variants. These initially got the two-liter M102 engines (with and without injection) in the front. The diesel version made its appearance in the autumn of 1983. It received the newly developed encapsulated OM601 engine, which became available in two and 2.2 liter capacities. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz launched the 190 E 2.3-16, the top model at the time, about which you can read more below. More versions followed in the course of the eighties, such as the 190 D 2.5 (with five-speed gearbox and the five-cylinder OM 602 engine, which was good for 90 DIN hp)), the 190 E 2.3 with 100 kW and the 190 E 2.6 with a 122 kW in-line six-cylinder engine (M 103). The 190 D 2.5 was later delivered in a turbo version with 122 DIN hp and a standard four-speed automatic.
The new Benz was not cheap, but it paved the way for many motorists in this class to the Mercedes-Benz dealer. That trust was amply rewarded, because there was almost no quality measure on the 190, regardless of whether it was a diesel or a petrol version. The combination of the new driving dynamics for Mercedes-Benz concepts and the extremely solid construction offered enough solace for many to sign the order form for a new 190. Those who wanted to flavor the car could traditionally choose from a huge number of options. The Mercedes-Benz 190 was steadily developed. The petrol versions were also available with a catalytic converter or catalytic converter from the mid-190s. Furthermore, the 2.6 103 appeared with the beautiful six-cylinder MXNUMX engine.
Sporty versions, XNUMX-valves
Mercedes-Benz also did not leave the 190 untouched in the sporting field. The 190 E 2.3-16 debuted at the IAA in Frankfurt. This version received the 2.3 M102 engine with four valves per cylinder and an output of 185 DIN hp. The cylinder head for this engine was developed in collaboration with Cosworth. The top model immediately set a world record in the race version by blasting over the Nardo circuit for 50.000 kilometers at an average speed of 247,94 km/h. The 2.5-16 (launched in 1987) finally replaced the 1988-2.3 from 16. This was introduced in 1983 and, like its successor, had a cylinder head with four valves per cylinder, developed in collaboration with Cosworth. The later 2.5 16V Evo I and II versions (both built 502 times) were the most feisty and thickly executed four-cylinder versions. Striking: the Evo's had a different bore and stroke than the regular 2.5 16V versions. The Evo II was also recognizable by the thick cake server on the stern.
The 190 3.2 AMG was the most spirited and most heavily motorized version of the W201 series. The 190 was also visible in the DTM, to say the least. Because Mercedes-Benz won with the DTM version (based on the 2.5-16 Evo) of the 190 no fewer than sixteen of the 24 races in the 1992 DTM season. three.
More versions, also special versions
At the other end of the spectrum, the tax-advantaged 190 E 1.8 . for (among others) the Netherlands came Plan-Oort version on the market. At that time, the 190 had already had the first (careful) facelift, and that series was recognizable by the Sacco-Bretter: wide moldings that were mounted at the bottom of the flanks. Special models appeared regularly, such as the Azzurro, the Rosso and the Avantgarde Verde (a special 190 D 2.5). Mercedes-Benz also experimented with the 90 with an electric powertrain during the 190s, while a prototype convertible version was also shown in 1989.
Car for life
Of course: there is much, much and much more to tell about the first middle class (or for Mercedes terms: small) Benz, which you can't believe the age of almost forty. In December, he will enter his fifth decade. But he deserves to be put in the spotlight. Because Mercedes-Benz took new, more dynamic roads with this car without losing the core values of yesteryear. And built a car, which, thanks to various versions, reached a wide audience. From economy rider to performance bully, there was a W201 for every candidate. And those who invested in it received an unimaginably well-built car for life.
Built almost 1,9 million times
The Mercedes-Benz 190 W201 became a monument in automotive history, having been built 1.879.629 times. In August 1993, the 190 was succeeded by the Baureihe 202. And that was the first Benz to be marketed as a C-Class. The Mercedes-Benz 190 therefore went out of production, but did not disappear from the streets for a long time. He was far too well built for that. And that's why you still come across one regularly.