To keep competitive in the Group A Touring Car Championship, Mercedes unveiled the 2.5-16 Evolution II at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show. The most radical departure from the standard 190 was its body kit which included an outrageous rear wing, probably the largest ever fitted to a Mercedes four door.
At the time, Group A homologation dictated that the aerodynamic devices of the race car were limited to those on production version. So the Evolution II retained the full competition bodywork including its unusually tall rear wing that was necessary as the regulations didn’t allow the wing to impede rearward vision. So, the clever engineers put a cover over the top of the rear windscreen so that the tall wing couldn’t be seen.
While the larger wheel flares and front dam did their best to match the rear wing, the interior of the 190E was all business. Opulent wood finishes and leather seats did little to remind the driver that this was competition-derived special. Curiously, a special knob was provided to offer three different ride heights.
Under the hood, nothing was substantially altered from the standard 190 2.5-16, however Mercedes-Benz changed the compression ratio, valve lift, timing, intake tract and exhaust to help the car reach 232 bhp compared to the normal 195.
The chassis was correspondingly upgraded with larger brakes, a harder suspension, 17 inch wheels and the hydro-pneumatic adjustable ride height was left intact.
Over 502 cars were built, and all in a blue-black metallic paint scheme. The changes made to these cars were good enough for Klaus Ludwig to clinch the DTM driver’s title in 1992.