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Here’s Your Chance To Buy a Rare Mercedes-Benz 190 E Race Car Built for the Street

The pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz's DTM homologation models is up for sale.
RM Sotheby's

If you have a couple hundred-thou burning a hole in your pocket, we have good news: A very special Mercedes-Benz DTM homologation car is up for sale at RM Sotheby’s this month.

Per the auction listing, the car in question is a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. That’s a mouthful of a name, but highlights everything that is so special about this car. It’s the second special evolution of the 2.5-16 sports model, built in a run of just 502 examples to meet DTM homologation rules. This particular car is #229 of that limited run, finished in the factory Blauschwarz blue/black metallic paint, as were all examples bar the final two produced in silver.

The 190 E, known by its W201 chassis code, was Mercedes’ answer to the BMW M3. The two German rivals were locked in a fierce battle in the DTM series in the late 1980s through to the 1990s. The 190 E, in Evolution II form, eventually secured the championship title in the 1992 DTM season.

The Evolution II featured the most highly-strung version of the M102 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The engine delivered 232 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, thanks to a dual-overhead cam 16-valve cylinder head developed by Cosworth. It was famously paired with a Getrag dogleg transmission that placed first gear down and to the left. This was intended to make the more common 2-3 shift a straight-shot for easier shifting on track.

Handling-wise, the Evolution II sported self-leveling suspension with adjustable ride height that was tuned for track performance. Large performance brakes were also fitted to ensure the Evolution II wouldn’t falter after multiple hot laps.

However, it’s the body kit for which the Evolution II is perhaps most well-known. It notably featured a gigantic rear wing which was so outrageous, it prompted BMW’s own development chief to question the function of his company’s own wind tunnel. The kit was functional, too, helping to reduce the car’s drag coefficient to just 0.29 while also adding some useful downforce.

The example up for sale is well-equipped, coming complete with heated seats, a sunroof, and air conditioning. Other niceties include an upgraded rear audio kit, external temperature display, and a Technics CD changer. It was first delivered to Germany, and was later exported to Japan in 1994. It later returned to Europe in 2015 and was held in a Mercedes dealer collection for some time. It was bought by the current owner earlier this year, and is now up for sale once more with 87,000 km (54,000 miles) on the clock.

Mercedes never officially brought the Evolution II to the U.S., so this example is a rare beast in these lands, though not the only one we’ve seen. Bidding will take place on Dec. 10 for interested parties. Expect to pay on the order of $225,000 to $275,000 to make this four-pot German screamer your very own.

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