Mercedes-Benz W201 is First Produced
The Mercedes-Benz W201 was the last incarnation of the Mercedes-Benz 190 nameplate.
It was a sports sedan/compact executive car produced by the Mercedes-Benz division of Daimler-Benz. It was replaced in 1993 by the C-Class.
Dubbed "the Baby Benz", the W201-based 190 was the most affordable model in the marque's lineup, being designed to fill the gap in the range below the W123, the equivalent of a modern Mercedes E-class. Amongst the items that were a first for Mercedes was the 190's patented 5-link suspension at the rear, used in subsequent E- and C- class models, and developments used today in Mercedes road cars. It had front and rear anti-roll bars, and anti-dive, anti-squat geometry. The 190 was available with airbags, ABS brakes and seatbelt tensioners, and other advanced safety features.
£600 million was spent researching and developing this car with Mercedes-Benz acutely aware that a failure of this model could easily bring down the rest of their model range and the entire company’s reputation. Mercedes-Benz later said the 190 was 'massively over-engineered'. The W201-based 190 was introduced in November 1982. The UK market was kept waiting up to 12 months longer than mainland Europe in order to stimulate sales.
Local 'red tape' in Bremen (which produced commercial vehicles at the time) prevented Daimler-Benz from building the 190 there, so production was started in Sindelfingen at a capacity of just 140,000 units per year. Eventually after just the first year, Bremen was cleared for production of the 190, replacing its commercial vehicle lines, and there the 190 was built with the first running modifications since release.
Bucking the 1980s trend for 16 valve models, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 2.6 model in 1986. This was fitted with a new 2.6 L six-cylinder M103 petrol engine from the new W124 E-Class model range, and produced 160 bhp (119 kW). Being a straight six, it had smoothness lacking from four-cylinder petrol or diesel engines. Although it might look superfluous alongside the similarly powerful 2.3-16 valve, it was intended as a less sporting alternative to the 16 valve models. The late motoring journalist LJK Setright once rated the 190 E 2.6 as one of his favourite cars.
The "Baby Benz" reigned for about a decade before being replaced in 1993 by the C Klasse. Specifically tailored to offer an attractive performance package for an affordable price, the car was quick at becoming a favorite among many buyers. Besides sporting a uniquely styled body, the car was packed with numerous firsts for the company, with an emphasis on safety and handling. Previously used suspensions were replaced by a patented 5-link system with arms arranged in a particular order to further improved ride quality and handling. The multi-link suspension was complemented by front and rear anti-roll bars while anti-dive and anti-squat technology made their way to the car. Of course, Anti-lock brakes, airbags and seatbelt tensioners were also made available while Diesel engines were encapsulated for better soundproofing, the latter having been a first in the automotive industry.
Darlings of the ‘80s upwardly mobile, almost two million 190s rolled out of the factory. Mercedes-Benz did an excellent job of scaling its big car looks down into a BMW 3-series-sized package, and barely lost any interior space. Largely ignored by the classic car market until recently, good examples are starting to be snapped up for what look like bargain prices. Only the Cosworth-tweaked and spoiler-clad 16V models, in 2.3 and 2.5-litre form, have attracted much enthusiast attention, and prices for those can be double those quoted for everyday 190s.
The vehicle aimed particularly at the group of buyers of the successful BMW 3er off. In place of the otherwise Mercedes typical foot parking brake is a normal emergency brake on the center console. The reason for it is to be looked for in the relatively close floor space of the car, which did not offer the place for a determination pedal. Remarkable is also the a arm wiper, which is equipped later with a special stroke technology and so that a larger surface takes off. This is used also starting from 1984 in the model row W124.
The Design with the relatively short, high and tapering tail conclusion broke radically with the past Mercedes models. In the fundamentals the proportions of the W remained 201 up to the current model W 203. Also the W 201 was the first Mercedes, which completely did outwardly without chrome decoration and was delivered with plastic Radzierblenden.
In September/October 1988 in the context of a large model care the following changes were made:
new painted bumpers and side planks ("Sacco boards ")
new seats with Neigungsverstellung, new upholstery and foam core instead of Federkern.
Belts in front
electrically heatable outside mirror, right
anodized window verges
easy setting lower
Starting from spring 1991 the 190E 2,0 and 2,3 was provided with new engines. These carried now 122 and 136 HP out (before 118 and 132)
The last 190er was built in August 1993 in the work into Bremen and transferred to the Mercedes Benz museum. The successor of the 190er became 1993 the C-class W202.
There were 4 special models with special metal IC lacquer finish and remarkable interior equipment. They were sold under the model designation "avant-garde" in limited number of items:
190 E 2,3 Azzurro (blue)
190 E 1,8 Rosso (red)
190 D 2,5 Verde (green)
190 E 1.8/2.3 Primavera (green) (this special model was built only for Switzerland.)
Also there were less well-known special models like the 190E "Berlin 2000 ""DTM '92 "and the 190 E 3,2 AMG.