The career of the current C-Class as a motorsport star began with the record-breaking drive completed by the 190 E 2.3-16 model in Nardò, southern Italy (13 to 21 August 1983).
This was also the first major test for the new engine with four valves per cylinder and 136 kW (185 hp). The three record-breaking cars had very similar specifications to the subsequent production models; only minor modifications were necessary to optimise them for the test in Nardó, including optimised aerodynamics, a larger tank and longer axle ratios.
The test proved worthwhile: the brand broke three world records and nine other international records at the circuit in Nardò.
The world records broken by the 190 E 2.3-16 in Nardò, 1983:25,000 kilometres, average speed 247.549 km/h25,000 miles, average speed 247.749 km/h50,000 kilometres, average speed 247.939 km/h