Mercedes 190 E Stadtwagen (1981): the Class that came in with 16 years in advance

When Mercedes launched the A-Class in 1997 we all thought, “what the innovators have been in a Mercedes, by daring to enter into a segment for them is unknown”. What I didn’t know then is that Mercedes already had been on the verge of throw an interesting utility at the beginning of the 80’s, which unfortunately did not get past the prototype stage. It was called Mercedes 190 E Stadtwagen, and was based on a platform W201 modified by the platform of the “baby Benz” that so much success would be achieved in the 80’s. This is their story.

Mercedes wanted to experience with a rally car, of short battle, but the project was abandoned before time.

At the end of the 70s, Mercedes was very present in the world of rally. Wanted to compete with the italians and the French in their own territory, and briefly compared the production of this curious creature, which would justify at the policy level, the homologation of the rally car. The Mercedes 190 E Stadtwagen measured less than four meters, and had a battle of only 2.220 mm, thanks to the use of the platform shortened the W201 – known as the Mercedes 190 at the commercial level – not to be released until 1982.

mercedes-190-stadtwagen-2 What does it mean to Stadtwagen? Literally, car city. After the abandonment of the rally on the part of Mercedes in the late 1980s, the project was orphaned. Mercedes do not want to miss the investment made in the project, and other departments of the brand began to experiment with a future city car, a field in which Mercedes had no experience. The spawn resulting orphan, he was baptized as “Stadtwagen”, and in his time, caused great shock in the european automotive industry.

Although measuring less than four metres away, its qualities and interior space were comparable to those of a W201.

he Was shot by several photographers spy in the late 1980s, and their competitors, the French saw clear that Mercedes would launch a utility, to threaten the space occupied by the Citroën and Peugeot 104. The design of the Mercedes 190 E Stadwagen was the living example of the provisional and uncertain project. Its front was similar to that of the mules of the W201 – without the calender or bumper end – and though used as its wheels, the tailgate belonged to the family version of the veterans Mercedes W123.

mercedes-190-stadtwagen-3Its interior was identical to the Mercedes 190 E, and it was equipped with an automatic gearbox of four relations. The engine that moved this curious vehicle was a four-cylinder 2.0-liter and 122 HP of power, which is enough to propel this lightweight utility – propulsion back – up to 175 km/h. It is unknown the number of units produced, although it is believed that there is only one copy which is in the hands of Mercedes. You can occasionally see exhibited in their museum in Stuttgart.

16 years later, Mercedes launched the a-Class. His first commercial venture in a segment whose only experience had been the W201 Stadtwagen. Despite the problems of the Class, followed in the steps of the Stadtwagen in a certain way: it offered a space similar to that of a vehicle of greater size and some qualities similar to the best-sellers of the time. Unfortunately there is little audio-visual material of the W201 Stadtwagen, but it is possible to get an idea of its curious proportions and strange design.

Source: RWP