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Mercedes-Benz 190 (1983 - 1993)

Last updated 31 October 2016


Buying Guide


  • Build quality, solidity, door latching system.
  • 14' 7" long by 5. 6" wide and from 1,080kg.
  • Takes age and mileage very well indeed if properly maintained.
  • 1989 model-year facelift brought more legroom in back.
  • Hard, flat seats like those of W123 are longest-lasting seats I know.
  • Good autoboxes.
  • 190 2.0 carb engine has 90 bhp, 1.8 injection 113 bhp, 2.0 injection 122 bhp. Was a 136 bhp 2.3 injection in Europe, LHD only.
  • Better built than C Class that followed.
  • Lots of 200k + mile examples around, still in very good shape. MB single indicator and lights stalk on right of steering column where it should be.
  • is a highly recommended specialist both for buying ans selling at fair prices.


  • Hard, flat seats not comfortable for everyone.
  • 'Simplex' timing chains on pre-1989 model-year cars prone to snap at around 60,000 miles.
  • Some facelift cars (with lower body side-moulding) used up old stocks of 'Simplex' engines.
  • Tinny boot lid.
  • Clumsy manual gearbox.
  • Mechanism of single arm wiper needs freqent greasing and is not included in normal Mercedes service schedules.


  • If buying an 'F' or 'G' four-cylinder 190 or 190E, open the oil filler cap and look at timing chain underneath. Single link = 'Simplex'; Double link = 'Duplex'.
  • If buying high mileage, make sure service records show 5,000-mile oil changes.
  • 190s more than 10 years old may have started to rust.
  • Clonking autoboxes.
  • Noisy rear axles.
  • Power steering leaks.
  • Kerb damage to front suspension (look for uneven tyre wear).
  • Clocking of these cars is rife so a full service history with receipts and old MOTs tells you a lot more than that the car has been properly serviced.
  • 16-12-2011: If single arm wiper starts to slow down, lift the flap on the bottom of ther arm and lubricate with graphite oil.
  • Clocking.
  • Uneven tyre wear a particularly bad sign on this one as could have been crashed.
  • 190 2.3 Cosworth was single chain 175bhp, changed to duplex on 2.5 version.  Simplex chain needs changing every 70,000 miles.
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