Modern Mercedes-Benz Diesel Stuffed Into 1992 190E

Ever daydream about a bizarre engine swap? So do Mercedes-Benz engineers, apparently, as they’ve managed to stuff the 2.2-liter turbo-diesel I-4 from a new 2010 C250 CDI into a 1992 190E 2.6.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">

Interesting? Yes. Rat rod? Hardly. The 190E used in the swap was in immaculate shape, and it didn’t come into Mercedes-Benz’s hands very cheaply.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">“No,” says Peter Lehmann, an engineer responsible for Mercedes-Benz’s concept cars. “I can’t say it was a real bargain. The W201 has long since gained collector status (so we noted), and this example dating from 1992 was in particularly good condition.”

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">Still, there was a method to Lehmann’s madness. Not only did he know the W201 inside out (he’s owned several), but the old 2.6-liter inline-six-cylinder was approximately the same size and weight of the new turbo-diesel I-4. Luckily, this allowed engineers to maintain the 190's weight distribution, and a suspension revision was avoided.

The project wasn’t without packaging issues, however. The stock oil pan interfered with the steering rack, so a part from a Sprinter van was used instead. Engineers also had to widen the 190’s transmission tunnel to accommodate the modern six-speed automatic transmission.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">Even so, Lehmann says the biggest issues weren’t mechanical, but electrical.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">Modern engines are chock full of advanced technologies, and if the corresponding controllers aren’t present, they will barely run, if at all. Mercedes-Benz had to rig up a simulated CAN-BUS multiplexing system in the trunk in order to get the 2.2-liter to fire. A similar method was used to fool the computers into thinking an ABS computer was present and fully functional.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">If this all seems too complicated to enjoy, the engineers report the opposite. Since the 2.2-liter turbo-diesel is rated at 204 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, the modified 190 is now nearly three times as powerful as a vintage 190D. Mercedes-Benz claims the car will accelerate from 0-62 mph in 6.2 seconds, shaving 11.9 seconds off a 190D’s performance run.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">Better yet: Since the hopped-up 190 is lighter than a contemporary C-class (you’ve a long list of safety and convenience features to blame for the extra heft), we’re told the hot-rodded 190 is actually slightly more fuel efficient than the C250. Go figure.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles