The Mercedes-Benz W201 was the first compact executive car from Mercedes-Benz introduced in 1982, positioned below the E-Class—and marketed under variants of the Mercedes-Benz 190 nameplate. The W201 featured a patented rear 5-link suspension, subsequently used in E and C class models, front and rear anti-roll bars, anti-dive and anti-squat geometry—as well as available airbags, ABS brakes and seatbelt pretensioners. In the late 1970s, Mercedes competed in rallying with the big V8-powered Coupés of the R107 Series, mainly the light-weight Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0. Mercedes wished to take the 190 E rallying, and asked British engineering company Cosworth to develop an engine with 320 bhp (239 kW) for the rally car. This project was known as project “WAA’ by Cosworth. With a continued desire to compete in high-profile motor sport with the 190, and also now an engine to do it with, Mercedes turned to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) (German Touring Car Championship) motor sport series instead. Cars racing in this championship, however, had to be based on a roadgoing model.
Mercedes therefore had to put into series production a 190 fitted with a detuned version of the Cosworth engine. This high-performance model was known as the 190 E 2.3-16, and debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1983, after its reputation had already been established.
With only 8,700 miles from new and in truly wonderful condition, this Evolution II was originally a German delivered car which was imported by a Japanese collector in 2005 with 2,800km on the clock; prior to the export, the car was serviced with a main dealer in Deggendorf in June of 2005. The first Japanese owner serviced the car at 3,284km, with a second Japanese collector purchasing the car on the 10th of June 2009 with 8,100km recorded and it received a further service with Mercedes-Benz at 9,244km. The original import and Japanese registration documents are present in the history file as well as a checklist on the car conducted by Mercedes-Benz in Kyoto. The full book pack is also present and correct. The paintwork retains a deep, consistent lustre throughout with plastics and shadow line trim pleasingly free of any marks or wear; a definitive time warp example. Highly specified with full black leather interior, the deeply bolstered front seats are near new with a matte finish.
There is very little wear to report in the cabin, with gearbox tunnel, sills and carpets all mark free. The wooden inlays and surrounds retain good lacquer and the fit and finish are free of cracks or distortion. Some period additions from new, an oil temperature gauge, stopwatch and voltmeter, are key to assuring the driver of the homologation bloodline. The self-levelling suspension can be adjusted from inside the car. The engine has been well serviced, pulls very well and is on-cam when the car comes alive; really a very eager engine with a beautifully balanced chassis. The dogleg gearbox is a joy to use; 1st gear engages with minimum of fuss from cold and moves away cleanly and smoothly. The Evolution six spoke wheels still present in excellent order having never been refurbished and the braking system provides excellent stopping power with no adverse pitch or pull. A wonderful example of the legendary model, this car is UK registered with a V5 document and MoT certificate valid until June 2017. With all taxes paid this represents a fantastic low mileage example of one of the rarest and most desirable motor cars from Mercedes-Benz.