This 1988 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 is a cherished example of the renowned W201-series compact saloon, offering brisk performance and legendary build quality. It is powered by a 185bhp 2.3-litre engine with the bespoke DOHC 16-valve Cosworth cylinder head, driven through the rear wheels via a five-speed Getrag manual transmission with dog-leg shift and single-mass flywheel.
The car is understood to have been completed at the factory in late 1987 and first registered in 1988 in Northern Ireland. It remained on that side of the Irish Sea for the next decade, and was then shipped over to England and re-registered in March 1999. The vendor acquired the car last year, and has invested in bringing the car up to an impressive cosmetic standard and giving it a thorough service.
Its bodywork presents in very good order, after the vendor commissioned a bodyshop to attend to sections of bubbling in the finish last year. The paintwork was rejuvenated with a full machine polish, and the full photo gallery below showcases its glossy appearance. Only a few imperfections remain, including some lacquer peel above the rear number plate. The car sits on the original flat-face 15-hole alloy wheels, which have minor grazes in a few places, but are otherwise in sound condition.
The black leather upholstery in the cabin is evidently original, showing only wear consistent with the age and mileage of such a well-built and well-trimmed car. Its grey headlining in also in great shape, and the rare electrically operated sliding sunroof works perfectly. The original steering wheel and gear knob are still present, and with the exception of the outside air temperature and fuel readouts, the instruments function correctly.
Its cabin is equipped with rear headrests and electric windows all round, and the vendor has fitted a new electric aerial as well as a period-correct Blaupunkt radio cassette deck. Notes from the vendor are that the rear electric window switches protrude slightly from the surrounding trim - with one having an intermittent fault - and that there are a few small cracks in the dashboard.
This 190 E’s last scheduled maintenance was carried out in December 2019, which included renewal of the engine oil and oil filter, as well as a fresh set of spark plugs. The vendor reports that it starts, runs and drives very well.
The most recent MOT test was carried out on 4 December 2019 at 191,857 miles, which resulted in a first-time pass with the only advisories regarding slight play in a suspension ball joint and wear on the rear tyres. As the car has been stored for longer periods in recent years, it is currently fitted with budget tyres all round, in size 205/55 R15.
Accompanying the car is the original black pouch, owner’s manual, sales directory and a raft of old servicing and MOT paperwork. Two original keys and immobiliser fobs are also present, along with the first aid kit, tool kit and full-size spare wheel.
This Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 is an appealing modern classic, not to mention a very rare sight on UK roads. The company limited deliveries to just 600 right-hand drive cars in period, and only a small fraction of that number remain roadworthy and in regular use today. Equipped with the full leather interior as well as the desirable manual transmission, this renowned performance saloon ticks all the right boxes, and would make a great addition to any collection.