GCF Original Feature
Related content:
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 Revisted
There was a time when cars were designed out of a passion for motor sports. The legendary Ferrari GTO was one of these cars and so was the Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3 16V. To understand the uniqueness of this automobile we must go back to the late seventies when product planners were conceiving the 190 class and its top model, the 190E 2.3 16V. Mercedes-Benz thought rallying was the best arena to showcase their new model line, named W201, but this plan quickly changed to road racing. This was the first time Mercedes sold a relatively inexpensive car. As a result, Mercedes strongly desired to promote the new model's attributes and showcase its' abilities in motor sports. Contributing to the fantastic driving dynamic was the now famous multilink rear suspension. It was first released on the 190 series and was instrumental in providing sporty and competitive handling. Mercedes also collaborated with engine building masters, Cosworth Technology Ltd. to help develop the 16 valve cylinder head with mechanical valve lifters. They came up with 185 hp from only 2.3 liters displacement which may not sound like a lot (compared to today's engines) but don't forget this was 1983 (almost 20 years ago) and the car was lightweight compared to today's heavy weights. In the summer of 1983, the 190E 2.3 16V set out to break as many long distance high speed FIA records as possible at Nardo, Italy. After 202 hours of continuous running, multiple records were broken including the 50,000 km level at an average speed of 248 kph (154mph). Very impressive when you consider they had to stop to refuel, change drivers and service the car while the clock was ticking. During these endurance trials there were some minor aerodynamic modifications including removal of the mirrors and wipers. In addition, a lower rear axle ratio permitted a higher top speed but overall this car was almost stock and reflected well on the entire 190 series. May of 1984 was a monumental time for the 16V. The brand new Nurburgring racetrack in Germany was hosting its first F1 race and a 190E 2.3 16V won the supporting race which was great public relations. Well actually, all the cars were identical 16V's driven by many former world champions, so a 16V was destined to win, but who's counting. Moss, Lauda, Prost and Hill were all beaten by a young upstart driver named Ayrton Senna as some of us F1 fans know went on to be a 3 time world champion. The DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) race series became popular around this time so Mercedes entered multiple cars after satisfying the rules stipulation that required 5,000 road going versions to be built. BMW entered DTM with its enthralling M3, which was a direct rival to the 190. Competition forced Mercedes Benz to enlarge engine capacity to 2.5 liters and eventually release a more advanced Evolution 1 and 2 versions with more aerodynamic aids and horsepower. At this point, the famous engine tuner, AMG, was called upon to create a team of their own. Mercedes and AMG went on to win over 50 DTM races and numerous titles, which solidified their dedication to motor sports, which lives on to this day.

Gallery: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16V