CC Capsule: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E (W201) – Snow White And The W124 Dwarf


With over a century of history, it’s an understatement to say that the look of Mercedes-Benzes has changed substantially over the years. Yet through all the various styling trends that have defined each new generation of Mercedes, one thing has remained the same (at least in your humble author’s opinion). With very few exceptions, Mercedes’ of any era unmistakably look like a Mercedes.


A large part of this is owed to the unity of styling across its various car lines – unity that Mercedes has maintained over the years. While all of its cars carry distinctive looks, key design elements are consistently shared to make their looks unquestionably Mercedes, and easily dateable to a certain styling era. My personal favorite of these eras was the one that began with this W201.

1985 Mercedes-Benz sedans

Characterized by their wedge-shaped profiles, these are among my favorite Mercedes ever. This W201, which hit the market in 1982, largely set the styling trend for all Mercedes-Benzes of the next decade. This included the 1985 W124 (E-Class), the 1989 R129 (SL-Class), and the 1992 W140 (S-Class), including all of their additional body style variants. Yet even with their new direction of angular styling, these Mercedes still maintained unity with older models, like the 1979-vintage W126 S-Class.


I find all the aforementioned Mercedes particularly appealing. I think it largely has to do with the fact that these were the common Mercedes I came to know as a young child, and therefore have forever aspired to. As much as I love the all-star W124, I have a soft spot for the W201. Despite arriving earlier, it was always like the W124’s shy little sibling. Less common, but very similar in appearance, the 190E stood out with its C-pillar “vents” and horizontal taillights, the latter of which the SL would replicate. It was then the smallest Mercedes, but looked no less substantial than bigger Benzes.


For several reasons, the W201 proved far less popular than the larger and more expensive W124 in the U.S. That translates into even less W201s around today. This particular one is a 1991-1993, with the body-colored bumpers, two-tone paint scheme, and the 2.3L I4. It’s excellent condition, with a lack of rust or any paint defects, speaks for the quality of Mercedes-Benzes from this era.


Car aspirations from out childhoods often remain strong through adulthood. I’ll tell you now that it has forever been a dream of mine to own a Mercedes of this vintage. Who knows, maybe that day will come soon.


Related Reading:

Mercedes-Benz 190E (W201) History