In 1989, the Mercedes 190 wasn't a luxury powerhouse. It didn't have a potent V8 under the hood, nor did the exhaust note summon the Devil as expected. It was the baby Mercedes at the time, slotting below the iconic W123/W124. Four-cylinder engines of various sizes and outputs powered the 190, codenamed W201, with an occasional five- or six-cylinder engine finding their ways under the hood, too. That doesn't make it any less of a classic, and seeing it hit the German Autobahn as it would have 30 years ago is neat.
The Mercedes 190 in the video has a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood making 124 horsepower (92 kilowatts). The Mercedes' top speed is like its horsepower rating – average at 124 miles per hour (199 kilometers per hour). However, in the video, the 190 2.3E approaches its rated top speed, nearly hitting 118 mph (190 kph). Less traffic could have given the Mercedes the necessary space to hit 124 mph.
The Mercedes didn't hit the 190's advertised top speed, but that's okay. The car's condition could have mechanically limited it, too. Years of use can deteriorate a car's performance, especially if maintenance had been lax. Or the speedometer was off, which can happen.
It's easier than ever to find the latest supercar hitting 200-plus mph on the Autobahn. There are a plethora of videos out there. But there aren't a lot of videos with older makes and models hitting the Autobahn or the racetrack. Older cars are less powerful, noisy, and fast, but it's fun to see such an iconic Mercedes design cruising down the road at speed.
Watching the video is like taking a time machine back 30 years. The lack of a large infotainment screen mounted to the dash, and digital instrument cluster makes the Mercedes look ancient by today's standards. The doors are thin, and the dash is pushed down and out of the way, giving an expansive view of the road ahead. It was a car born in a different era, and it looks like a hoot to drive.