If you’re looking for a Nineties sports sedan, most people are going to steer you toward a BMW. After all, that decade was the golden era of the brand, a time when the Bavarians were nailing the driving experience. But sometimes life demands an alternate, a slightly less obvious choice. Life, when you think about it, demands a 190E 2.5-16 Cosworth.
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Surely you could get an M3 or an M5. You could take it to the track, romp on it as if you can afford to break it. Live the sharp, exciting lifestyle that these sedans provide. But sometimes you want to get to work. Sometimes you recognize that the track is off limits for now, that you need to enjoy the precious moments on a back road without expecting more. This is the reality that has pushed modern BMWs to get heavier, more dull, less involving.
It’s a path that Mercedes took long before. The 190E is a more luxurious and posh-looking alternative to the BMWs of its day. It has the potent Cosworth-tuned 2.5-liter four-cylinder providing 197 hp, and a dogleg 5-speed manual transmission that was swapped in for a more sporting driving experience (the seller will include the factory automatic with the sale). And the suspension is still sportier than a standard luxury car.
But look past the spoiler and the Recaros and it’s a Mercedes W201, a cushy and welcoming escape pod. The sports sedan that asks you to sacrifice nothing. An excellent choice.
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