25 Years Ago Mercedes Launched Its 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II Super Sports Car

Damn, it still looks incredible.

It was 25 years ago at the Geneva Motor Show when Mercedes-Benz debuted the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Just 502 examples were built, each priced at $80,000. That was in 1990. Adjusted for inflation, that’d be nearly $150,000 today. And that, of course, doesn’t include any sort of increased collector’s market value. So why was the 190 E 2.5-16 Evo II so incredible? Essentially it was Mercedes’ response to the BMW M3 Sport Evolution. Power came from a 2.5-liter inline-four rated at 235 hp.

Top speed was 155 mph and the sprint from 0-62 mph took 7.1 seconds, all very respectable numbers for the era. Compared to the W201 sedan on which it was based, the Evo II was basically a Group A DTM car homologated for the road. It was radically different from just about anything from the automaker at the time. Just look at its front and rear bumpers with integrated spoilers, wheel arch flaring integrated into the line of the body and highly pronounced rear aerofoil. The only color available was blue black metallic. Before AMG became the powerhouse it is today, the 190 E 2.5-16 Evo II was one of the very few super sports sedans that could deliver street legal track capabilities. And it looks as menacing as ever.

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