Herr / Julio-
Julio, I too believe the import #'s you suggested are accurate, 1,202 in '86 and 751 in '87 (that Euro Car article is pretty good). All US imports were either Smoke Silver or Black Pearl, and appx. 85-90% were 5spd's with the dog-legged 1st gear Getrag box, the rest being (GAG!) automatics (the race-patterened 5spd was a tougher sell in RHD models in Europe, try slapping that shifter away from you and down to grab 1st, it's un-natural). Many gray market '85's here too.
Robby, I'm still trying to figure out that top speed issue, my US model with the 3.27 rear end tops out 130 max, very buzzy up there. I've heard the European version was good for roughly 143 with the more hp and different final drive. Interesting...
Herr, interesting you point that out about the propensity of 16v's in your Tri-state area. When looking all over the internet for 6 or so months to research the car / locate / purchase one last year, I found a STRONG, uncanny concentration of them in your area, and another concentration on the west coast. The reason I attribute to it is not unrealistic. Think about this: our cars cost, no joke, beteen $37-$40+ large, in '86/'87 dollars no less! That was a TON of money. There was simply a higher concentration of people with that kind of dough in the Metro NY / Gold Coast / West Coast areas, hence you will find many of these there (not to say people ELSEwhere do not have $$$, but you all know what I'm talking about). So there may be a lot of originals near you. You may have a ton of fakes on top of that, I think people in your area tend to 'hop up' there cars like that (I think I'll stop here, I don't mean to sound opinionated, really!). Fakes are dead ringers and easily spotted with a passing eye.
Not sure if my 2.3-16 is better than an E30 ///M3, especially an Evo II M3 that could be bought here with 230 horse. Maybe if we got the 190E 2.5-16 EvoII... I had an E28 ///M5 previous to this, and, well, dare I admit it in this forum? I love my car now, but there is no comparison. Different leagues all together, the ///M5 would have embarrassed my 16v. The box stock 190 horse ///M3, while more garish and boy-racer looking was also an arguably better performer than my 16v, and catered to a different mission. More performance bits and pieces built in, more purpose built. I like my 16v as it's a bad-arse Benz, a more mature, polished package. I know I'm treading on thin ice here, but I also try to be realistic and not 'married' to one brand just because I happen to own one.
'87 190E 2.3-16