Mercedes W201 Profile

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Mercedes W201 General Information

It was surprising to see this car on rally stages. Mercedes' last works involvement ended in tears and this time there was no works involvement at all. The 190E 2.3-16 was more meant to be Mercedes' top of the range W201 model in reply to the BMW M3. As the car was not exactly up to the BMW M3, there was later a version called 190E 2.5-16. 16v was just a new hype, never mind the British with Triumph were some 15 years earlier (a sadly ignored effort, probably too far ahead of their time) and so it was a trend at the time that small top of the range BMW and Mercedes were to have a high-tune 4-cylinder 16v engine rather than the otherwise typical 6-cylinder engines these makes featured. However the effort of BMW and Mercedes was slightly spoiled by the appearance of the Opel Kadett GSI 16v, that was very much in the same league and also Peugeot's 405 MI16 saloon and the slightly later 309 GTI16 challenged them for their low weight. Not surprisingly future top of the range versions of small BMW and Mercedes models were therefore of a very different configuration - making the cars less affordable and less interesting for competition.

However the few Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 we found in rallies were pleasing the fans in extremely spectacular fashion. Harald Demuth provided the most spectacular drifts in the German rally scene with the “Baby-Benz”. However his program was spoiled by many, many equally as spectacular engine failures. In the WRC we saw Bernard Darniche in the 190E 2.3-16. However his efforts were an embarrassment. In the Monte Carlo, before his engine exploded, he lost already loads of time in SS1 when he needed spectators to push the car up a snowy hill, it's traction was completely useless, non-existant in these conditions. And in the Tour de Corse Darniche crashed out in SS1. A bit of a shame really. Touring car preparer Dany Snobeck was the brain behind the WRC starts of Darniche with Snobeck himself starting in Monte Carlo too. Plus French events the Snobeck team actually built no less than 6 such cars. But somehow most famous of all were Harald Demuth's German starts in the Mercedes dealer Fricker prepared cars. Even though these were never seen outside Germany, never at WRC level, just the sound and sideways action was an absolute show with the fact that this was a Mercedes only enhancing the sensation. So far Mercs were not known to be good for big sideways spectacle, not even when they rallied the big SLC coupés. In other countries these cars were never driven by famous names, but the fact that I remember Vince Wetton/Tony Panaro driving one in UK and Dirk Verkinderen/Ari Lekkerkerker driving one in Belgium shows what impression this car could leave, and not the type of impression you would expect from a Merc.

Mercedes W201 Related Content

Mercedes W201 Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Mercedes W201 190E 2.3-16 (87-88) 220 0 4430.1706.1361 1130 (4.2) RWD (2665)

Random Mercedes W201 Photos

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Mercedes W201 Results

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Mercedes W201 Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1990 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo P. Bos J. Dubois #16 [UNKNOWN] SS14 brakes
Ret. 1987 WRC Tour de Corse B. Darniche A. Mahé #12 [UNKNOWN] SS1 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo B. Darniche A. Mahé #20 [UNKNOWN] SS9 engine
Ret. 1987 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo D. Snobeck J. Béchu #26 [UNKNOWN] SS5 crash