1988 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 from North America


A well constructed, reliable machine that is a joy to drive


Leaking oil gasket from around the engine block, replaced recently.

Radiator leak. Replaced last year.

Heater core failure. Will be replaced shortly.

Electrical short causing car to stall out, fixed last year.

Emergency brake failure, replaced recently.

Rear brakes and rotors replaced.

General Comments:

The 190E has been a pleasure to own despite the rather long list of repairs listed above. For the most part it is an extremely reliable car and with 165,000 miles clocked on, it still runs incredibly smooth. I quite frequently drive it for three hours at a time on the weekends and it always brings me safely home without anything to worry about. A wonderfully constructed car!

The car is quick and peppy, although not as fast as my old Mazda Miata. It accelerates smoothly and has enough power for getting out of any tight spots. The gears are firm and the first up shift will definitely get your attention if you've been driving American cars for a long time.

It handles through just about anything and I doubt you could do anything to lose control of the car. It is responsive in the corners, a very stable ride and feels very reassuring to drive.

I have to say, it's built like a bomb shelter and when the door closes you feel like you are driving something very safe. You know that if anything were to go wrong, the car will definitely take care of you. It has excellent safety restraints and even has an airbag for the drivers side.

I've driven the car non-stop since finding it in October of 1999 and I must say it is the safest, most reliable, and most confident driving car I have ever had the pleasure of owning.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th November, 2002

6th Feb 2005, 09:20

My 1988 Mers190E sat in a garage for 8 years. Some old fogey had it and was not able to drive it often. I think it went undriven for at least 6 years. When I bought it it had 83K. I paid 1700 USD for it. It is a superb machine. I've had some minor electrical repairs including plug wires, rotor, ignition parts, but it drives like an old Mers should. Smoothest ride on the highway that you can imagine. Still get the feeling when I drive it that I am from some delegation of importance in Europe. The car still turns heads, and I'm going to preserve it through maintenance for years to come. The paint is still impeccable, shines like show room quality. I love the machine and every day relish to drive it. PS I have a brand new Audi S -4, but I let my wife drive it because I enjoy the old Mers more. Too bad Chrysler bought them because the new ones are JUNK, overpriced for the Mers lineage.

1988 Mercedes-Benz 190 E Cosworth 2.3 16v from UK and Ireland


A tarmac muncher with class


Rear shock absorber,£150 each.

Hydraulic pipes for the suspension corroded.

Front spring.

Two engine mounts £80.

Front and rear discs.

Exhaust £850 for full system.

LSD & ABS sensors renewed £80.

Timing chain (my choice, but needed) £250.

Full handbrake system £150

Two tyres £130 each.

I'm sure to have left something out.

General Comments:

Although this seems like a lot of money to spend maintaining my car you've got to remember that this car has been around for 14 years and had 130,000 hard driven miles, things are bound to go wrong.

It's not the quickest car off the lights, certainly not as fast as my 5 Turbo I had, but get past 60mph and it goes and goes hitting 145+MPH(so I'm told officer).It definitely gives you smiles per miles.

They can be a bit of a handful in wet, (as I found out the first day I bought it) a little bit too much acceleration on a roundabout or bend and you'll be going sideways.

The engines on the 2.3 and 2.5 both sound noisy, a rattle hear and there, so don't let this put you off buying one.

The body work on mine is in excellent condition, no rust, dents or scratches the paint work still has a deep shine and I think its original. To the untrained eye this car could be mistaken for being quarter its age.

They are a well built car made to last and bomb proof. Buy one now before they become a classic, you can't loose.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 2002

25th Dec 2004, 08:51

Is the Merc good for fast motorway cruising say 120mph-ish or is this asking too much given the age rather than the car?. I've got 35miles of (windy, hilly) motorway to work and I'm torn between getting a 1989 ish Merc 190 2.5 16v (are all 2.3 16v Cosworths? What about the 2.5?) or a 1990 BMW 325i/525. Love the look of the Merc, but the Beamer seems to be a better motor really. (also like to get an M5 but...still, but that's just asking for trouble on the costs front). I'm in North Spain where you can go as fast as you like more or less, but the prices of 2nd hand cars are horrendous (as is the chance of finding a decent independent garage) so it's a difficult decision here)