This identification / buyers guide has been drafted for those interested in the Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3 - 16 valve, otherwise known as the "Cosworth" Mercedes. These cars represent the highest spec 190E available between 1984 and 1988, prior to being superseded by the 2.5-16, and are considered by many to be a likely future classic car.
Although a reasonably large number of 2.3 - 16 190E’s were produced, they do command a premium price well above the standard 190E sedans on which they are based. As a result, it is important to be aware of the features which confirm a car is indeed a genuine 2.3 - 16 valve car, in order to make the right purchase decision.
This guide provides information with respect to the correct external features, interior features, paint colours / codes and of course the important chassis, engine number and gearbox number prefixes that you should be looking for on a 190E 2.3-16.
Period of Manufacture:
September 1984 – June 1988
Please note, this is only a guide and should not be relied on. You should always make your own enquiries and consult professionals when looking to purchase a car. This guide can always be added to and we would really appreciate it if anyone contacted us with further details to add to this guide. You can contact us with the button above, or leave a comment at the base of this page.
The 190E 2.3 - 16 had the following exterior features, which make a good starting point for the identification of a genuine original car. We note that this particular car is very similar in appearance to its standard 190E counterpart, and even moreso to the 2.5 - 16 car, and differentiating the vehicles can often be difficult at face value:
The 190E 2.3 - 16 had the following interior features. Note, many of the interior options were also available on the standard 190E, and may therefore not be unique.
The 190E 2.3 - 16 was only available in two colours, as detailed below, with examples given in the attached images.
To confirm the original colour for the car, you have to look at the embossed plate located on the bonnet slam panel (see image). The number that refers to the original colour of the car has been highlighted in the attached image. The other numbers on this plate refer to the options provided with the vehicle, which are detailed elsewhere on this page.
The Chassis number on a Mercedes 190E 2.3 - 16 should begin with the following prefix:
This will be followed by numbers indicating the cars specification:
1 = Left hand drive.
2 = Right hand drive.
A-E = Sindelfingen production plant.
F-H = Bremen production plant.
This is then followed by the cars individual / unique 6 digit number.
Example of a complete chassis number: 2010342F######
Location of Chassis Number:
The chassis number should appear in two locations, which should of course match. Firstly, the number appears on the chassis plate which sits on the bonnet slam panel (see attached images highlighting location). Secondly, the same number should be stamped on the bulkhead / firewall which divides the battery compartment from the engine bay, as shown in the images. Additionally, the initial prefix "201034" should appear on the embossed data plate (see location as shown in images).
The engine number on a 190E 2.3 – 16 Cosworth should begin with the following prefix:
The engine number is located on a flat area of the engine block, as you look down between the distributor and intake manifold. See images for a better description.
The Gearbox Number on a 190E 2.3 – 16 Cosworth should begin with the following prefix:
201 260 04 01 717 404
This number should be stamped into a flat plate area, on the opposite side to the “GETRAG” casting, as shown in the attached images. This gearbox number is the same on all 16 valve 190E's, including the evolution models.
The Mercedes 190E 2.3 - 16 had the following original mechanical features:
There were a large number of options available on the 190E 2.3 - 16, and the majority of options available on the car (including codes) are outlined below. These codes are located on the plate screwed to the bonnet slam panel, as shown in the images. A small sample of these options are given in the images.