UK 2-litre 190E experiences
I have an '87 190E 2-litre with the 5-speed manual which I bought 2 years ago at auction with 114K on the clock, and it rolled over to 125K today (I have another car hence the relatively low mileage in that time).
It's been very good, totally reliable apart from the odd little thing like dodgy electric window switches (easy DIY fix). I get about 30mpg average, 35 on a long motorway run.
Parts have been surprisingly cheap even from the main Benz dealer (except for trim items) - service items from the dealer are often cheaper than Halfords! MOT tests have been easy to pass with amazingly low emissions readings - yet I've barely touched the engine.
Performance is acceptable - I got 125mph out of mine, though acceleration from rest is a bit disappointing compared to the '84 BMW 320i I used to have, this largely being down to the high gearing. Motorway running is very relaxed as a result - 80mph is a breeze. Many areas of the 190E are better than the BM, eg overall refinement and appearance. I do miss that sweet BM six though, but the little four-pot is surprisingly refined and quiet, and more torquey than the BM which used to 'pink' if asked to lug a high gear.
I know from reading this forum that the 300E is a very highly rated model - one I wouldn't mind owning one day!, but hopefully you shouldn't find the 190E too much of a comedown!
James, Kent UK.