I'm a fan of the M103 (as in our 300TE) for its smoothness and quietness but when I saw a very rare 1990 190E 2.3 Sportline 5-speed manual advertised early this year I couldn't resist. I was not even looking to buy another car. Obviously it doesn't have the performance of the 2.3-16 or the 2.6 but I must admit I am impressed with the flexibility of the 2.3-8V and the good use it makes of the relatively tall geared manual (3,000 at 120km/h or 75 mph). This allows for smooth and quiet cruising and being a late model it also has the dual mass flywheel to improve smoothness. The Sportline package gives well bolstered leather seats for four only, leather wheel and shift knob, and sharp steering with brilliant handling (assisted by the 7" rims with 205/55 rubber). I have given it a spirited drive against another club member's 2.3-16 and there was nothing in it in handling. He had my measure in acceleration and up hills though. Don't rule out the 2.3-8v if you find a really tidy one or a Sportline (especially a manual). I am really enjoying mine. In the few months I've had it I have already done over 5,000km including a 2,000km return interstate trip. I also like the less crowded engine bay (since I'm the one who will be doing all the work in there). The insurance rates are also reasonable, unlike a 2.3-16.
107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.