Origin of the Species : Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

Car Specifications
2299cc, 16-valves
Cylinder Layout: 
In-line 4
Top Speed: 
5-speed Manual
7.5 seconds
185bhp at 6200rpm
235Nm at 4500rpm

Four-valve technology at Mercedes-Benz underwent a renaissance in the compact class 190E, or W201 (in reference to its chassis code) as the anoraks prefer to refer to it, in 1983. The 190 E 2.3-16 was a sporty variant of the compact class sedan, or Baby Benz (at that time), with outstanding driving characteristics.

The car’s trademark was the high elasticity of the Cosworth-developed engine (the British engineering company undertook extensive work on the engine's light-alloy cylinder head). All this took place before the days of AMG's involvement with the tuning of performance production Mercedes-Benz vehicles (at the time of the 190E's launch AMG was not yet a part of Mercedes-Benz).

The company’s engineers had gone back to the W123 series as a base for the 2.3-16. The four-cylinder engine with 2299-cc displacement as used in the 190 E 2.3-16 had a newly designed cylinder head with two intake and two exhaust valves. Its light-alloy cylinder head, developed together with the British Cosworth company, had two camshafts, four V-shaped overhead valves per cylinder and pent-roof shape combustion chambers with a favorable geometry and spark plugs optimally located in the center. Precise mixture formation was ensured by mechanical Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection.

The engine was combined with a manual five-speed transmission tuned for sporty performance with a 'dog-leg' first gear and second-to-fifth gears in a racing 'H' pattern. Self-leveling suspension on the rear axle was also a standard feature.

The 190 E 2.3-16 had been able to show what it could do as early as in 1983 the year of its presentation at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Four weeks before the launch, three prototypes of the model had set several world long-distance records over 25,000 kilometers, 25,000 miles, and 50,000 kilometers, with average speeds of almost 250 km/h, in Nardo, southern Italy.

In fact, it wasn't until towards the end of the 190E's life that AMG rolled out their offerings: a 16V AMG Power Pack (for the later 2.5-16 and Evo 1/2) and a very limited production (about 200 vehicles in total) of an AMG-fettled variant: the 190E 3.2 AMG.

The 16-valve unit had four V-shaped overhead valves per cylinder controlled by two overhead camshafts. Air-bathed injection valves were positioned in each case just before the point at which the intake ducts divided, spraying the fuel evenly into each of the eight ducts.

From a displacement of 2.3L, the power unit developed 185bhp at 6200rpm and 235Nm at 4500rpm. The century sprint was dispatched in 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 230km/h.

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