Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
Homologation models are arguably the coolest cars on the road, and the most extreme examples are the ones whose existence is directly fuelled by bitter rivalry. Cars built out of spite and anger.
While BMW and Mercedes-Benz locked horns on the DTM scene in the late-eighties, their necessary homologation cars grew ever more aggressive; BMW's iconic M3 Sport Evo was countered by Merc's 190E Evolution, which featured a very clever engine - its capacity and power output were very similar to the regular 2.5-16, but a shorter stroke and bigger bore made it much revvier, and M-B were happy to bolt on the DM18,000 PowerPack which threw in hot cams and a bigger throttle body for a 30bhp gain. It also had nifty next-gen suspension, its ride height adjustable at the flick of a switch. But as the two German brands thrusted and parried, so their respective racers evolved, and the road-going counterparts became ever more extreme...
What you're looking at here is the 190E Evo II, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1990. It built on the strong foundations of the 190E Evolution, and added an extraordinary aero bodykit comprising a huge, adjustable rear wing, jutting front splitter, rear window spoiler, and vast arch extensions wrapped around those delicious 17" wheels. This all reduced drag to a CD of 0.29, and created real downforce.
Just 502 Evo IIs were built; the first 500 in this shade of Blauschwarz blue-black metallic, with the final two being Astral Silver. Impressively, despite their phenomenal performance and race car DNA, these cars remained true to Mercedes' luxury car principles - they were comfortable and amenable daily drivers, stuffed with wood and leather. It really was a race car you could use every day, complete with air-con and a quality stereo.
What are these things worth today? Well, start at six figures and work upwards...
Spotted at the London Classic Car Show - more pics here.