The problem: I needed a cheaper, more interesting car with daily driving potential.
The solution: 1991 Mercedes 190E 2.0 auto
I’ve now covered 1,000 miles in this car after buying it from a dealer a few weeks back. With the help of a good friend, we’ve gone over most consumables and have generally given it a bit of TLC.
It’s an original, honest example that’s clocked just over 87,000 miles and has already proven itself to be the comfiest and probably the most practical car that I’ve owned to date. I don’t have many photographs for now but a highlight for me is the timewarp interior which I’m sure could be scrubbed up to look almost entirely new again.
Anyone familiar with 190s will know that these cars were built to last, and you only have to take a glance across to the classifieds to find examples that are still going strong despite intergalactic mileages. It’s also not hard to find people who consider these to be some of the best engineered and highest quality vehicles ever made.
So, what’s it like to drive? Well, it’s everything I hoped for and everything that I need right now. Its interior gives the space and visibility that we’ve long since forgotten in modern cars, while the supple suspension, deeply cushioned seats and overall quietness mean it’s no longer an option to drive while even slightly tired.
My expectations weren’t high for the 2 litre, 4 cylinder engine, which put out somewhere near 120hp when new, but in reality its performance really seems to suit the rest of the car – particularly as its paired to the 4-speed auto. Well, it’s 4-speed if you set it to be. Rather, in economy mode, the car skips its first gear leaving you with just 3 cogs to skip through. The box itself responded well to an oil and filter change and now, once warm, I think it’s hard to be dissatisfied with its shifts. Spend life above 80mph and you’ll soon be wishing for another gear, though.
I think any driver should be able to appreciate the direct, well-weighted steering. The brakes, ABS no less, offer good feel and power, too. The tall, plush suspension doesn’t add up to as much roll as I was expecting but then again my car has just had a significant amount of its suspension components refreshed. To me, the whole car feels very composed and well-balanced.
You won’t want to rush things though, as to do so goes against what this car is amazing at doing – lowering your blood pressure. Quite simply, If you get into this thing and feel the urge to move quickly then you’re doing it wrong.
As with any car of this age, the 190E has a few issues that I’m hoping to resolve.
Expect to see plenty more of this car here at RevMatch.