Posted Jul 12th 2012 3:00PM
Back in the day we think of classic battles of Ford versus Chevy, Mustang and Camaro and even full size pick-up trucks duking it out for bragging rights. While those battles still exist today, there was one battle in the 1980's that heated up across the pond and well, never really caught on here with our castrated versions. That battle was between two German hotrods based on everyday coupes and sedans, or more specifically the BMW M3 versus the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16. Automobile Magazine's Jason Cammisa takes a look at both of them in every regard in their home environment of the areas around the Nürburgring.
While none of us reading this are strangers to either commuter platform, these highly tuned racing homologation models are a fair bit more rare to come by. The BMW M3 is certainly more prolific being the street version of the famed M race car, which was one of the most winning touring car of all time. The street version of this hyped-up E30 chassis was a factory effort by the same M division out there racing using 1,000 hp race motor architecture and M1 supercar components to create 195 HP from only 2.3L! The car eventually made 235 hp in later 2.5L Euro trim in a lightened chassis.
The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 featured the same displacement and 5-speed Getrag transmission. However, it had a Cosworth-built engine, a 2.3L 16-valve 4-banger which cranked out 185 hp. The naturally aspirated motor received substantial de-tuning and more options for the North American market and simply was a non-factor over here. However, the powertrain was stout and faster than the Merc V8s of the day and that sound? Totally unforgettable. Aryton Senna once wowed the racing world beating all sorts of F1 drivers in a one-make race of these gems making it a highlight of the W201 platform for decades
Find out who wins in acceleration, handling and top speed runs to see which one Automobile declares the winner and eventually buys in the video after the jump.
News Source: Automobile Magazine via Maxbimmer