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StartcarsMercedes-Benz celebrates the 40th anniversary of the model 190 (W201)

Mercedes-Benz celebrates the 40th anniversary of the model 190 (W201)

When it comes to small sports sedans from the 1980s, most people think of the second generation BMW E Series (E30), which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

However, another “small” German premium sedan is also turning 40, and that is the Mercedes-Benz 190 (W201).

The Mercedes-Benz 190 (W201)

The E30 was a great car, but it was just an improvement on an existing idea. BMW has focused on the world of small sports sedans since the 1960s, when the BMW 02 Series appeared.

After that, the first 3 Series appeared in 1975 and then the E30 in 1982.

The E30 expanded the 3 Series lineup to include a four-door sedan, convertible, station wagon and four-wheel drive version, giving it more options than the Mercedes 190.

But before the 190 went on sale in late 1982, the idea of a small, relatively affordable Mercedes didn't exist.

Until the arrival of the 190, the new “cheaper” Mercedes was the equivalent of today's E-Class, which put Mercedes outside the budget of most ordinary families.

Therefore, the Mercedes 190 is not only the predecessor of the modern C-Class, but also of all affordable Mercedes.

The 190 model also won for its design, which was traditional, but the difference was in the angle of the radiator grille and headlights, in addition to the way the nose and tail were tapered to make the car smaller and less “cubic”.

A drag coefficient of 0.33 Cd was radical for Mercedes, making the rival BMW E30, which arrived the same year, look older.

So it's no wonder that the E36 Series 3, which replaced the E30 in 1990, resembled the Mercedes 190.

The E30 had some advantages like a single-link rear suspension, while the 190 had a multilink.

The history of the classic Mercedes-Benz model

The Mercedes-Benz 190 was not perfect, and its drawbacks were, among other things, legroom and standard equipment.

There was no 6-cylinder engine offered until 1985, and the naturally aspirated engine developing 72 hp was very slow with acceleration from 0 to 100 in about 18 seconds.

However, the engine had an innovative sound deadening package above and below it, so it was nicknamed the “whispering diesel”.

Mercedes was unable to take advantage of the sales potential because it did not offer a two-door or convertible version.

The hatchback was thought over seriously, prototypes were made, but that's all. Plans for the rally were thwarted by the arrival of the all-wheel drive Audi Quattro.

The 16-valve Mercedes 190 struggled to stay ahead of its BMW M3 rival on the track until the arrival of the 190E 2.5 Evolution II, which finally won the DTM championship in 1992.

The E30 achieved better sales results and was sold at 2.3 million copies, while the 190 model “stopped” at 1.8 million copies.

However, this is not surprising considering the body designs and range of engines available to BMW customers.

The E30 and 190 models were hugely important, but some will say Mercedes still deserves a little more attention.

The Cosworth-tuned 190s were highly regarded, while the “regular” cars with 2.0 liter engines brought quality and durability to the average driver as well.

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