The Merc 190 E Evo II is Still a Beast On Its 25 Year Anniversary

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 25 years ago, the W 201 Mercedes-Benz 190 E Evolution II went on to acquire legendary status and become a winner both on and off the track.
It was March 1990 when a legend was born. Yes, this saying does get thrown around a lot, but on a few special occasions, it does hit home. This is a perfect example of a 25 year old car that we'd love not just to own today, but as most automotive journalists would tell you, if we could just drive it for a few minutes, it would mean more to us than driving pretty much any modern day super saloon.
If you're thinking that this car looks too muscular for it to be just some sort of an exterior tuning job, you'd be correct. The Evo II featured a development of the 2.5 liter engine adopted from the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution, with the power output rising from 195 HP to 235 HP.
This meant that it could reach a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.1 seconds, which at the time was spectacular for a saloon car and wasn't even far off what some late 80's and early 90's supercars were capable of.
Outside, the Evo II was fitted with 17" wheels, new front and rear bumpers with integrated spoilers and wheel arch flaring integrated into the line of the body. It was and still is, a thing of beauty. It's beautiful in its simplicity. Its masculinity and boxy, aggressive aesthetics.
On the track, the Evo II was taking DTM by storm. It was putting down 373 HP at the time that AMG started taking over the process of converting vehicles for racing use. In order to cut down on weight, AMG used lightweight plastic for the bonnet, boot lid and spoiler.
On June 16th 1990, the Evo II made its racing debut on the North Loop of the Nurburgring in the DTM, with Kurt Thiim taking 3rd place at the end of the season. The year after, Klaus Ludwig finished runner-up while in 1993 he won the DTM Championship ahead of Kurt Thiim and Bernd Schneider - all three racing an Evo II.
To this day, Mercedes still holds the most DTM constructors titles, despite BMW's excellent form recently.
We could probably write all day about the 190 E Evo II. It's image overshadows most modern day sports saloons just like performances from our favorite long retired athletes still overshadow their modern day counterparts.
25 years ago, Mercedes-Benz cars were ridiculously over-engineered, which is something lots of people have complained about in more recent models. Back then, you would get in a Benz and you'd feel like it was eternal. Never mind the fact that they drove almost as good as modern day cars do in many ways.
In fact, the 190 E 2.5-16 had such an amazing ride, it rivaled that of modern day Mercs, and as some which have driven it have said, even surpassed it.

How cool is that?


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