Mercedes-Benz presented the compact class W 201, known as Mercedes-Benx 190, in 1982 as a completely new, third main line in its passenger car range. The model series set new standards in efficiency, handling, safety, and design, while also lending the Stuttgart-based brand a younger and fresher image.
The first entry-level models generated an output of 66 kW (90 hp, 190 model) and 90 kW (122 hp, 190 E model), while the 190 D diesel model launched in 1983 managed 53 kW (72 hp). 1984 saw the launch of the lively six-cylinder 190 E 2.3-16 (136 kW/185 hp).
In 1988 Mercedes-Benz entered the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) with the racing tourer developed from the series production version, and Roland Asch finished the season as Vice-Champion. Meanwhile, the motor sport specialists in Stuttgart were already working on their next coup, developing the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution and 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II models on the basis of the road-going version of the sixteen-valve model.
Following the first Evolution model from the previous year, Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II made its premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 1990. The engine’s output had been raised in comparison to the first Evolution model from the previous year, the Evo II now generating 173 kW (235 hp) of power as opposed to the previous 143 kW (195 hp). The top speed was 250 km/h. Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II accelerated from a standing start to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds.
The body had also undergone further refinement on an aesthetic and technical level. The Evo II chassis, which had been modified for racing use, was fitted with 17-inch wheels (as opposed to 16-inch), for example. The vehicle’s aerodynamics were improved by new front and rear bumpers with integrated spoilers, wheel arch flaring integrated into the line of the body and the highly pronounced rear aerofoil.
This sports saloon provided the basis for the new Group A racing tourer with which Mercedes-Benz competed in the German Touring Car Masters. 502 cars were built, in compliance with the requirements stipulated by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) regarding the homologation of Group A vehicles for the DTM. After the Evo IIs were built in Bremen, AMG then assumed responsibility for converting the vehicles destined for racing use. The 274 kW (373 hp) racing tourers now went into production with body components such as bonnet, boot lid and spoiler in extremely lightweight and robust plastic. The Evo II had its racing debut on the North Loop of the Nürburgring in the DTM on 16 June 1990.
All of the 502 cars of Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II produced were exclusively available in blue black metallic. At the time of its original presentation the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II was priced at DM 115,259.70, or DM 119,717.10 with air conditioning.