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Mercedes 190 E

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II Exterior
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  • Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II
  • Year:
    1990
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    235
  • 0-60 time:
    7.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    65000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Homologation special. It’s not a term that gets applied to cars much anymore, but it’s brought us some great ones. Think, 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, 1981-1991 Audi Sport Quattro, and 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 RS. The idea is to require a manufacturer to build ‘x’ number of road-going versions of whatever car it wants to take racing. It prevents engineers from coming up with anything too crazy and forms a tangible link between what fans see on the track and what they can put in their driveways. Then, a company like Toyota comes along and builds two road-going GT-One Le Mans racers and blows up the entire notion.

Then there’s the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Debuting in 1990, the Evo II, as it came to be called, was designed to do one thing: beat BMW in Germany’s DTM touring car race series. Unlike the DTM of today, which is comprised of carbon-chassis, purpose-built silhouette racecars, the DTM of the early ’90s was populated with cars built on road-car platforms and powered by road-car engines.

After getting trounced by BMW M3s and the odd Ford Sierra Cosworth during the 1989 DTM season, Mercedes went to work updating its 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution. The 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show ahead of the 1990 season, with more power and a wild new body kit. All 502 road cars required for homologation sold out before it was even unveiled. At around the same time, AMG (still an independent company) went to work converting an allotment of Evo IIs to race cars.

The Evo II debuted in the third round of the 1990 season at the Nürburgring with Kurt Thiim behind the wheel. Thim went on to finish the season in third behind championship winner Hans-Joachim Stuck in an Audi V8 quattro and second-place Johnny Cecotto in a BMW M3 Sport Evolution. Things went a bit better in 1991, when Klaus Ludwig drove his Mercedes to second overall, again behind an Audi, but the Evo II didn’t hit its stride until the 1992 season, when Mercedes drivers Klaus Ludwig, Kurt Thiim and Bernd Schneider swept the top three championship spots.

Because of its extremely low volume and ridiculously high cost when new (reportedly $80,000 in 1990), the Evo II road cars didn’t enjoy the same exposure as the BMW M3, but those same factors are what make it so desirable and collectible 25 years after it was first built.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II.

 

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II