1988 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 from North America


Sporty and Classy all in one package


Nothing yet. Car is in Mint Condition.

A few dents and scratches.

General Comments:

It's a very nice and smooth ride.

A nice comfortable fit, even though I'm 6'2.

Everything fits and feels perfect when I sit in the drivers seat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2004

1988 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 from North America


An incredible bargin


I have had minimal problems with the car. Let me tell you about my car. I bought my Benz new in'88. I lived in Ohio then. I moved to Montana in '97 and decided I needed a truck - FOOLISH MISTAKE. I did need a truck, but I traded in my Benz for the truck, thus the foolish mistake. Four years passed and I would periodically see MY Benz around the area driven by an adolescent who was obviously not taking car of MY car. One evening I opened the local paper and saw a car listed for sale that sounded exactly like MY car. I promptly called the next morning at 7:30. I ask the lady who answered if there was a University of Calif. School of Medicine sticker on the car. She said "why yes there is" to which I responded "I'LL TAKE IT." I jumped in the shower and went and bought MY car back. It was in pretty bad shape from four years of poor attention. I have spent the summer fixing her up and she is on the road every day and runs like a dream. I will have this car until I die and will then pass it onto my son, who will care for her with great attention. I cannot recommend the 190-E highly enough. It is an absolutely remarkable automobile. In terms of trouble, I have had little. I have replaced the H2O pump and the fuel filters. It does shift like a tank, but I modulate this with the foot accelerator.

General Comments:

The car holds the road like it is glued to it. INCREDIBLE lateral acceleration. The seats are a little worn now, but I am working on them also to bring them back to snuff.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st September, 2003

19th Feb 2008, 17:16

That car has 500 000 miles on it?


1988 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.6 from North America


A performance luxury sedan built like a tank


Slight oil leak requiring quart to be added every 3 to 4 weeks.

Catalytic converter needed replacement at 136,000 miles.

Passenger window had electrical short at 144,000 miles.

I was told that the air conditioning went at 80,000 miles and that its components would need to be replaced.

Water pump blew causing antifreeze to steam out at 159,500 miles.

General Comments:

Despite the various problems I've encountered with my high mileage Benz, I could never regret purchasing this form of German ingenuity.

The oil leak is very common with all 190E models once they've approached 130,000 miles. However, consistently checking your oil and adding only 10W-40 or thicker consistency oil will lessen the severity of this problem. The oil leak appears to be coming from the head gasket and valves, which means it will eventually need an overhaul before reaching 225,000 miles (unless driven by grandmother throughout its existence).

The small 1988 190E 2.6 comes equipped with a sunroof and plenty of power to cruise on the highway (182hp), making the problematic A/C unit seem less of a necessity during the summer months.

My advice to someone shopping around for a 190E would be to look for the smoother running 6 cylinder 2.6L engine, which countless Mercedes mechanics have told me they see a lot less in the shop than their four cylinder counterparts. The 6 cylinder engine offers great top end speed, allowing me to reach 124mph with 135,000 miles on the odometer!

Even the automatic transmission 190E is naturally somewhat "punchy" when shifting between gears, which is common for 1970's and 80's Mercedes. It adds a more sporty feel to this luxury tank, which is most likely what the engineers were going for in the design.

The water pump had been sounding rough the last few months, making me think that I needed a quality tune-up very soon and some work done. Within the past week, with the odometer almost reaching 160k miles, my water pump basically died on me. The antifreeze leaked out onto my driveway with some dispersing into the air at over 85 celsius.

While replacing the water pump is normally relatively cheap for most cars, expect to pay approximately $135-$170. If you decide to replace it yourself and you aren't an experienced mechanic, I pity you. I made this very mistake trying to save money. Not only do you have to remove the thermostat, but there are multiple screws holding in water pump with the base one being almost impossible to reach. You might be forced to remove components of the power steering just to get at the final screw. I strongly suggest you buy Chilton's or Hayes repair manual (which I'm waiting for in the mail). The six cylinder leaves very little room to work on the car, and most certified Mercedes dealers charge too much for my blood.

All in all, this car has been maintained regularly, but driven with assertiveness. This little tank provides great handling and performance when needed, and has performed like a stunt car saving my life when severely cut off by a drunken driver on the highway late one rainy night.

Invest in quality snow tires and this vehicle should perform just fine in the snow.

The front seats are very comfortable on long trips, especially the head rests!

The heater works better than most cars, blasting warmth throughout the vehicle.

The rear 4" speakers are incredibly easy to upgrade with the trays being reachable from inside the trunk.

I would rate this tank a strong buy!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st March, 2003

13th Jun 2007, 13:31

I own a 1988 190e 2.6 european model with a five speed and I have to say your comments on this vehicle was dead accurate. I would recommend this vehicle to anyone. This vehicle was over engineered which makes it a very strong car.

Great review.

21st Nov 2009, 23:48

Yep, we had the 190E 2.3-16, the famous Cosworth = 4 cylinder and I am told more powerful than your six..

It too saved our lives, dobbed it into 2nd gear at 110kph or so and honked out of trouble, including a violent lane change. The Getrag (manual = stick-shift for our US cousins) 'box didn't blink.

You that in a GiMmy or Ford!

Cheers from New Zealand.

8th Sep 2010, 13:52

I bought a 1988 190e 2.6 in 2007 that had been driven only 42000 miles. It was the owner's wife's car. Obviously she didn't drive it much. Only oil changes were performed in 19 years. The car had been garaged and looked new. But time still takes its toll.

Imagine my surprise at 67000 miles when my mechanic told it would need a cylinder head overhaul after he showed me on three successive oil changes, the ugly oil deposits on the plugs. Plus I was having to add a quart of oil every 300 to 500 miles.

I've had the car restored to almost new condition, and recently drove it from Carmel Valley, California to Seattle, Washington up to British Columbia and then back home. It drives like a dream and gets from 21 to 26 miles per gallon. And, post valve job, there is no need to add oil.

This is great little car, which my mechanic tells me is good to run for 450,000 miles.