Mercedes 190E Cosworth

I've always admired Mercedes cars especially the Mercedes 190E Cosworth. In the past, Mercedes have mostly projected a luxury image rather than a sporty image until the 190E 2.3 liter 16v model and the 190E 2.5 liter 16v Cosworth models were produced. The names Cosworth tagged onto the 190E is due to the fact that the engine was designed with help from the famous British race car engineering company called Cosworth.

The 190E Cosworth car was originally meant for rally racing and Mercedes Benz have to produce a certain number for sale to the public in order to qualify. However when the Audi Quattro was launched with 4 wheel drive, all the other 2 wheel drive cars had no chance at all. Mercedes knew that motor sports can lift its brand and having spent money and developed a competitive car turned its attention to the German Touring Car Championship series also known as Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) instead.

If you intend to get a 190E, I suggest you get the Cosworth model rather than the usual model. Among the differences are:-

  • dual overhead camshafts and 16 valves
  • dfferrent steering ratio and smaller steering wheel
  • more power, obviously
  • suspension is lower and stiffer, it has quicker dampers, larger anti-roll bars, harder bushings
  • limited slip differential
  • self leveling rear suspension
  • The Getrag 5-speed manual gearbox in racing shift pattern

The rare thing in this car is it has Recaro seats front and rear. Some car enthusiast will change the front seat to Recaro but very few will put rear Recaro seats into their cars. A bonus point if you plan to buy this car.

Getting a used 190E Cosworth in good condition will require patience. It won't be impossible since with changing situation, some are sold when the owners have enough fun and want to move on to another car.

Things to look out for is rust. Check under plastic in corners of trunk along with all along the fenders and back door sills. The other thing is the timing chain since a broken timing chain will result in expensive repairs. Engines for the 190E 2.5 liter Cosworth will come with 2 timing chains rather than 1 in 2.3 liter model. The 190E Cosworth is a fantastic car. Mercedes of that era are known to age well compared to modern cars that are made to break. There are large numbers of enthusiast clubs to help car owners.

In a time when cars are getting bigger and bulkier and less fun to drive, the 190E is a fun, fast car with a comfortable ride with a thoroughbred lineage. What else can you ask for.

Here's a link to a manual that you might like if you are interested in the 190e Mercedes-Benz 190 16e (High Performance Series)

Comments 5 comments

Tim 5 years ago

Thanks for the article. It is really helpful. I was looking for a classic car with style & I guess you helped me make the final decision. Now, to go hunt for a decent 190e Cosworth.


jamezwoo 5 years ago Author

Hi Tim, hope you find your dream car


tino 4 years ago

New Merc

I Have one and just put full Recaro seats in it changes

the car i am rebilding the full car all AMG 190 cosworth body it cost me a bomb

Thanks it will be ready in March


jamezwoo 4 years ago Author

Thanks Tino for stopping by. Hope you have a nice AMG 190 once it is rebuilt. Send me some pictures too if that is not too much to ask.


Shootist 4 years ago

Looks like am in luck to stumble into this blog. I am new to 190 cosworth. Need advise, do you guys know where I can obtain 2.5 litre version parts, ie engine head, etc?

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