You'll Drive Very Slowly In A Mercedes 190E 2.0 But You'll Look Cool Doing It

Illustration for article titled You'll Drive Very Slowly In A Mercedes 190E 2.0 But You'll Look Cool Doing It

Here’s the tale of Luke, his imported 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.0 and some weird German stuff like a headlight level thumbwheel.


The Mercedes-Benz W201, otherwise known as the “Baby Benz” went down in history as one of the most over-engineered cars in history. Daimler spent all the money in the world to make sure the smallest Mercedes to date ends up being just as good as the E-Class of the time. And it really was.

Funny enough, we had a 2.0 190E when I was a kid, and RCR is right about one thing: The 2.0 was slow as hell even with a five-speed box, and the most exciting feature in the cabin was the economy meter, which was about as sophisticated as a Wartburg’s. When you gave it some gas, and it went to red. When you were off the throttle, it did not. Magical.

Having said that, Americans got the 190E with a 2.3 before the 2.6 came along. The subject of the latest Regular Car Reviews test has to be an import indeed if it packs a 2.0, yet it clearly has USDM headlights and an American instrument panel as well despite the owner’s amazing explanation:

In Germany - ‘cause i checked that out - in Germany, they actually, it’s... they’re like a mix between all the metric system and in miles per hour so they actually rate it with horsepower instead of like kilowatts.

Mix my ass. The British are the only ones in Europe using imperial, and when it comes to power, the official documents show the kilowatt figure while the Germans usually talk about PS instead of horsepower. A minor difference, and that’s about it.

Mercedes-Benz built 1,874,668 W201s in nine years.


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How perspectives have changed. A 1980s manual transmission 190E with the fuel injected (carbed = 190, diesel = 190D) 2.0 did 0-62 mph in 10.x seconds. That’s not slow for the era, at all. It wouldn’t even be considered slow in 2015 in Europe for a new economy car.

Now the 190D, with the 2.0 diesel, that’s a slow car. 0-62 mph in 18.x seconds with the manual. With the 5 cilinder 2.5 it became 15.x seconds.