The Mercedes-Benz 190, often referred to as the W201, was a compact executive car produced by Mercedes-Benz between 1982 and 1993. It represented a significant departure from Mercedes-Benz’s traditionally larger saloon models and was intended to compete with smaller, more affordable executive cars from other European manufacturers. The 190 was replaced by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in 1994.
Mercedes-Benz 190 Overview
The 190 was positioned below the larger E-Class and S-Class models in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup. It was seen as a more accessible entry point to the brand, especially for younger customers or those in urban areas. The W201 was highly regarded for its innovative engineering and robust build quality, consistent with the brand’s reputation. It featured a patented five-link suspension at the rear, which was a first in the segment and allowed for excellent handling without compromising ride comfort. It featured a patented five-link suspension at the rear, which was a first in the segment and allowed for excellent handling without compromising ride comfort.
Over its production run, the 190 was offered with a variety of petrol and diesel engines. The lineup ranged from economical four-cylinder models to more potent six-cylinder versions. The most famous variant is probably the 190E 2.3-16 and later, the 2.5-16. These were sporty versions developed in collaboration with Cosworth, a UK-based engineering company. These models were characterized by their performance engines, sportier suspension, and distinctive body kits. They competed in various motorsport events, including the iconic rally races.
The 190 series can be credited with establishing the compact executive car segment for Mercedes-Benz. Its success paved the way for the C-Class, which replaced it in 1993 and has since become one of the cornerstones of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. The W201 also played a role in shifting perceptions of Mercedes-Benz, making the brand more attainable to a broader audience without compromising the core values of quality, safety, and engineering excellence.