The Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evo II's bodykit - Art of Speed

Take a tame-looking Mercedes saloon, add an extreme aero-kit. Result? Madness

There are homologation cars, and then there are homologation cars. Aston’s DBR9 might have two Le Mans class wins to its name, but the luxurious road cars are hopelessly neutered by comparison. The DB9 was also a huge commercial success and you could even buy one with an extended warranty. Hardly the stuff of the legend, is it? Lancia, meanwhile, screwed together 200 Delta S4 Stradales through gritted teeth because that’s what it took to compete in a series so unhinged it was quickly banned. Extended warranty? Er, yeah…

The Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II sits somewhere in between. Sure, it’s rare, but with 502 examples built by AMG in 1990, it doesn’t qualify as 24-karat unobtanium. Relative to the championship-winning DTM bruiser whose existence it sanctioned by acting as a homologation base, it was also depressingly tame, weighing 1340kg with 232bhp at 7200rpm. That sounds quite promising, until you realise the racer weighed 980kg and made 367bhp at a skull-numbing 9500rpm. The road car’s wood-trimmed interior was also incredibly plush – way too plush to be cool.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

The brilliant thing about the Evo II, though, is that you wouldn’t know any of this by looking at it, because it shared the race car’s whopper of a bodykit. Group A aero homologation rules and Mercedes’ determination to slap down the BMW E30 M3 Evo made sure of that, and the result was not only a very good touring car, but a level of malevolence hitherto unseen in the marque’s subdued showrooms. Hands tied, AMG had been given no choice but to build arguably the most frightening road car in history. Painting it black – Blauschwarz, to be precise – was purely gratuitous.

Concocted by the (possibly) mad genius Professor Richard Eppler at Stuttgart University, the glassfibre bodykit was far more nuanced than its oil-slick cubism suggested. The front splitter, so precariously low but mitigated somewhat by the car’s changeable ride height, was adjustable. The upper portion the rear window also wore a plastic bracket designed to corral air towards a wing with a manually adjustable trailing edge, and the spoiler beneath was similarly adjustable.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Most Popular

Best cars

Best cars to buy for £10,000 – evo garage

The evo team picks their favourite used performance cars
1 Jul 2020
Dodge Challenger

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock revealed

The ancient Dodge Challenger lives on in new 807bhp widebody form – makes a Shelby GT500 look like a pedal car
3 Jul 2020
Mercedes CLA45 AMG hatchback

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake review

Good looks and stonking performance, if you can stomach the price tag
4 Jul 2020
Skoda Octavia vRS

Full 2020 Skoda Octavia vRS engine range detailed

Skoda’s engine range for the Octavia vRS topped by a 242bhp turbo petrol
3 Jul 2020