When the 190 Series was introduced in 1982, it was far from being a happy, unanimous decision at Mercedes-Benz. Many thought that producing a smaller, less expensive car would tarnish the brand, which had up to new relied on obviously exclusive, luxurious and expensive vehicles and models. The 1982 Mercedes-Benz 190 Series, dubbed the Baby Benz, was a success, and with good reason. It was a very, very technologically advanced vehicle, with ABS disc brakes, a five-link rear suspension, airbags and more. It was, quite literally, a full decade ahead of the competition. The fun really started in 1985, when Mercedes-Benz was cajoled into making a true sports version of their small car.
Dubbed the 2.3-16, this very fast little car relied on a Cosworth-developed new 16-valve head for the traditional 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, that produced an enviable 185 horsepower. Top speed was a scorching 144 miles per hour, and 0-60 acceleration, 8 seconds. This version of the 190 Series also came with a very well-designed body kit, with a new bumpers, a pronounced rear spoiler and more. Conservative it was not!
Equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox, the 2.3-16 could deliver all the excitement one could want from a sporty, small four-door sedan. The 1982 Mercedes-Benz 190 Series may not have seemed like a good idea at the start, but it turned out to be quite a classic, and a collectible car, too!