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MERCEDES-BENZ 190E 1985 to 1994

(4 out of 5 stars)

Review by Motor Traders Network Staff 26-Apr-2007

Mercedes Benz 180E and 190E/190D, 1984 to 1994

The 190E (W201 series) was released late in Australia in 1984 for the 1985 model year and was available initially with a 2.0-litre four cylinder engine (M102) and as a four-speed automatic only.

During 1986 a five-speed manual gearbox became an option and the engine was updated for use with unleaded fuel. The 190D was released which featured a 2.5-litre four cylinder diesel engine.

The most powerful 190 in Australia was the 190E 2.6 and this model was introduced during 1987. It was powered by a 2.6-litre six cylinder engine (M103) which was a tight fit in the engine bay, originally designed to take four cylinder engines only. [trans choice]

1988 saw a major update to the 190 series. The 190D was discontinued but all other models received styling changes consisting of new side protection panels, height-adjustable front seat belts, coloured bumpers and new front and rear aprons. Inside the front seats were reshaped for improved rear space.

Models from February 1989 had anti-lock brakes as standard.

The range was revised in late 1990. The 190E was replaced by the 190E 1.8 with its smaller engine, but there was now also a larger displacement four cylinder model to chose from, the 190E 2.3. These models continued until late 1992 when they were replaced by 190E 2.0 and around this time the six cylinder model was discontinued.

A lower cost model was introduced late in 1991 called the 180E which was unique to Australia. It was basically a 190E with a 1.8-litre engine and stripped of many of its features. ABS was not available and you had to wind your own windows up and down. However, power steering, air conditioning and central locking were all standard equipment.

The 180E and 190E 2.0 continued until 1994 when the entire range was superceded by the new C Class (W202).

EQUIPMENT

All models will have power steering, air conditioning and central locking.

It may seem strange for a supposedly luxury marque like Mercedes, but many of these models will have wind-up windows. Electric windows were standard or optional on all models, as was an electric sunroof.

ABS was an option on some early models, standard on 190Es from February 1989, but not available on the 180E.

Seats will be trimmed in cloth or optionally a synthetic leather trim Mercedes call MB-Tex, or possibly real leather. Electric adjustment of the front seats was also an option.

One rare option is the Sportline package, available on certain models only between 1989 and 1991, featured sports seats (front and rear in some cars) in either cloth or leather and lowered suspension. A rear spoiler was a further option.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Early 190Es used a single row timing chain that should be replaced every 100,000km. Later model 190Es and all 180Es had a double row timing chain which does not require routine replacement.

The automatic transmission tends to wear resulting in shift problems. Look for clunks and a harsh downchange from fourth gear.

Other problem areas include engine mounts, worn camshafts, oil leaks, steering backlash and differentials.

Like many European cars, brake pads and discs have a relatively short life.

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