This identification guide has been drafted for those interested in the Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5-16 valve, also known as the "Cosworth" Mercedes. These cars represent the highest spec 190E available between 1988 and 1993, prior to being superseded by the Evo I and II 16-valve cars, and are widely considered modern classic.

The 2.5-16 190E’s commands 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 genuine 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 2.5-16.

Period of Manufacture: July 1988 – June 1993

Number produced: 5,743

Please note, this guide has been written based on a variety of online sources and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation that all information is accurate. You should always seek independent professional advice when looking to purchase a unique car. If you have additional information, photographs or corrections you believe need to be made to this page, please contact us by clicking the buttons at the top of this page, or comment below.


External Features - Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 Valve Cosworth

The 190E 2.5 - 16 cars 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 almost identical to the 2.3 - 16, other than for several unique features which can often be difficult to spot:

  • Aerodynamic front spoiler.
  • Tailgate spoiler and flanged rear lip under lower bumper.
  • Revised sports sideskirts.
  • “190E” badge on LHS bootlid and “2.5 - 16” badge on RHS bootlid (the only feature distinguishing the car from the 2.3 - 16).
  • Alloy 15” X 7” wheels, mounted originally with tires size 205/55/15. The part number is A2014001302 which should be cast inside the rims.
  • Optional headlight wipers / washers.
  • The 2.5 - 16 was 16mm lower at the front and 12mm lower at the back than the standard 190E.
  • Single exhaust exiting LHS rear.
  • Flared front and rear mudguards / wheel arches.
Interior Features - Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 Valve Cosworth

The 190E 2.5 - 16 had the following interior features. Note, many of the interior features / options were also available on the standard 190E and 2.3 - 16, and therefore are not necessarily unique to the 2.5 - 16.

  • Two interior options available including: Fabric / leather (Option code: 051) or full leather (Option code: 251).
  • Sport seats, (height adjustable with optional electronic seat adjustment on door panel).
  • Leather steering wheel (available with airbag or without - see images for the different steering wheel types available, the varieties of which were shared amongst other Mercedes during the late 80's & early 90's).
  • Optional sunroof.
  • Cluster includes rev counter, voltage gauge, oil temp gauge, oil pressure gauge, stopwatch and speedometer.
  • Headlight height adjustment switch.
  • Optional rear seat headrests.
  • OEM Becker radio.
Paint Colours / Codes - Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 Valve Cosworth

The 190E 2.5 - 16 was available in the largest variety of colours of all the 190E Cosworth cars, which included the following colours detailed in the below table. Examples of the colours are given in the attached labelled images.


Colour Name Colour Code Availability
Blue-Black DB 199 1988 - 1993
Smoke Silver DB 702 1988 - 1993
Almadin Red DB 512 1988 - 1993
Astral Silver DB 735 1988 -1990
Brilliant SIlveer DB 744 1991 -1993


Paint code location:

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 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.

Chassis Number - Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 Valve Cosworth

The chassis number on a Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 should begin with the prefix 201035

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 chassis number.

Example: 2010352F######

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, and most importantly, 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 "201035" should appear on the embossed data plate (see location as shown in images. Note - image given is from a 2.3 - 16 car).

Engine & Gearbox Number - Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 Valve Cosworth

Engine Number:

The engine number on a 190E 2.5 – 16 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 - noting that the engine in the images is a 2.3 - 16, therefore showing a different number.


Gearbox Number:

The gearbox number on a 190E 2.5 – 16 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 was standard on all 190E 16 valve cars including Evolution models.

Mechanical Features - Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 Valve Cosworth

The Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 had the following original mechanical features:

  • 2.5L twin cam 16 valve 4 cylinder engine developed by Cosworth.
  • Diff ratio 3.27:1.
  • ASD (hydraulically controlled LSD).
  • Sports suspension, sports springs and dampers.
  • All independant suspension with self-leveling rear suspension.
  • Power steering and revised steering ratio for faster response.
  • 15" X 7" wheels with 205/55 VR 15 tyres.
  • 5 speed Getrag manual transmission or 4 speed automatic transmission.
  • Four wheel disc brakes (front: 284mm vented discs / rear: 258mm non vented discs).
  • Distinct engine valve covers stating "2.5 - 16" next to oil fill point.
Options and Codes - Mercedes 190E 2.5 - 16 Valve Cosworth

There were a large number of options available on the 190E 2.5 - 16, and the majority of options available on the car (including option codes) are outlined in the below table. 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.

Option Description Option Code
Headlight washers / wipers 600
Battery with higher capacity 673
Speakers back 812
Electrically heated seats L 870, R 871
Interior light back seat 876
Electric adjustable sunroof  410/ 412
Automatic transmission 420
Headrests backseat  430
Cruise control (Tempomat) 440
​Driver airbag 442
Central door locking system 466
ABS 470
​Automatic height adustment 489
Electric adjustable mirror passenger side  504
Electrical front seat adjustment L 221, R 222
Outside temperature measure 240
Electrical front seat adjustment w. memory L 241, R 242
Full leather seats 251
Electric adjustable and heated mirror passenger side 506
Automatic aerial  531, 532
Airconditioning 580
Electric adjustable windows front 583
Electric adjustable windows front and back 584
Tinted glass 591


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