Perennially in the shadow of the BMW E30 3-Series is the Mercedes 190E, the "other" great German sport sedan from the 1980s. That's a shame because that car has a rather fascinating history of its own, and one that involves Ayrton Senna, remembered today 20 years after his untimely death.

As the latest video from XCAR tells it, a one-make race was held in 1984 to celebrate the opening of the new Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit, and with it came a one-make race featuring the 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth — a criminally underrated car that spurred BMW to make the M3 in the first place.


The 12-lap race was a great chance for the young Senna to test his mettle against current and former champions like Nikki Lauda, Sterling Moss, James Hunt and his future rival Alain Prost. The cars weren't far off at all from what you could buy at your Mercedes dealer, even keeping their Blaupunkt tape decks.

Many of the drivers didn't take it too seriously, but Senna took home the win, and it gave an early preview of what was to come from him.

Okay, the story is interesting, but how is the 190E Cosworth? It's was, and is, a great sleeper from the era of overengineered Benzes. And it deserves more respect than it gets.

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