1. home
  2. news
  3. This 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution is the Perfect E30 M3 Alternative

This 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution is the Perfect E30 M3 Alternative

For those who consider the E30 M3 too played out

For enthusiasts, the 1980s was a simpler, better time. It was a decade when large German automakers were not preoccupied with autonomous driving, Apple CarPlay integration, and hybridization, but instead with turbochargers, high-compression, and motorsports dominance. While the mid-1980s was characterized by stripped-out, high-strung all-wheel-drive Group B rally homologation specials, the late 1980s and early 1990s saw the rise of roadgoing German Touring cars, like this fantastic 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution for sale on Bring a Trailer.

Buoyed by rally efforts in the 1970s with the heavy SL roadster, Mercedes turned to Cosworth for a high-output four-cylinder for its lighter 190E sedan platform. Just as development wrapped up on the 190E 2.3, the four-wheel-drive turbocharged sledgehammer that was the Audi Quattro smashed onto the rally scene, rendering the naturally aspirated, rear-wheel-drive Mercedes nearly uncompetitive before it even made its first dirt trail debut.

Mercedes wasn't flummoxed. Immediately, the 190E 2.3 was converted for use in the fledgling Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft series, where the car competed alongside BMW's immortal E30 M3.

As the car continued to compete, it grew in both power and complexity. Mercedes adhered to the homologation requirements of DTM, meaning any changes that were to be implemented on the race car had to first find their way onto the street version. Mercedes labeled these updated versions the "Evo" models, packing extra power, bodywork, aerodynamic, and go-fast hardware under the handsome German four-door body.

The car featured on Bring a Trailer is the first of those vaunted Evo models, the aptly named 190E 2.5-16 Evolution I. Each Evo I packed a revised powerplant, featuring a similar horsepower output, but a shorter stroke and bigger bore that raised the redline. Just 502 of these specials were made, and just 60 of those wore the sinister-sounding AMG "Power Pack," including the car for sale on BaT. Each AMG Power Pack included bigger throttle body, aggressive camshafts, updated ignition and fuel systems, and revised intake and exhaust plumbing. All of this powertrain hardware bumped output up by an impressive 22 hp to a grand total of 224 hp.

Outside, this car wears the wonderful Evo aero kit, including the massive rear wing and deeper front lip. The car is in tip-top shape, with right around 50,000 miles on the odometer. The seller opted to replace the complicated and costly self-leveling rear suspension with a standard fixed setup.

If you want to live your wildest DTM dreams, hop over to Bring a Trailer and pick this Mercedes up before the auction is over.