Mercedes-Benz had a lot going for it in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM, which back then stood for German Touring Car Championship and is currently known as the German Touring Car Masters) between 1986 and 1996. Within that decade, Mercedes earned a total of 86 wins in the championship, the majority of which were accomplished with its iconic 190E Evo I and Evo II race cars. The original Evo is great, but I’m a bigger fan of the platform that immediately followed it in DTM, which then turned into the International Touring Car Championship (ITC) a short time later: the W202-based AMG C-Class.
Youtube Channel italiansupercarvideo has a video in its massive library of one ripping around the Nurburgring back in 2011, and it’s truly a wonderful sight and sound to behold:
Call me vapid, but this mostly pertains to its looks. I’m a big fan of ’90s German sports sedan and coupe styling in general, but the AMG-tuned W202 racecar and its street-legal sibling are absolutely gorgeous. That clean-yet-sporty German sedan design is greatly accentuated with the former by its racing-spec aero work, functionally low stance, and big mesh wheels.
The next-most badass thing about the W202 was its naturally aspirated, heavily race-engineered engine. Sizing out at just 2.5 liters, this sub-250-pound lump produced 400-440 horsepower at an astronomical 11,500 RPM throughout its life in DTM. The soundtrack, mostly induction noise, that this engineering marvel produces in the above clip is absolutely intoxicating.
The car produced solid results, too. Mercedes won all 1994-1996 DTM championships with the W202. Just imagine a field filled with these trading paint with their equally badass competitors back in the mid-’90s.
Another great video published by YouTube channel supertouring22 documents the AMG W202 during its heyday, and the engineering environment that it raced in back then, as well. In this clip, you’ll see Tiff Needell taking one out for a demonstration styled like super-old Top Gear:
The AMG W202 race car was a beast and a testament to how fascinating racecar engineering was during this era. It’s pretty cool to see some similarities between then and now, how some technologies like ABS haven’t really changed, but other aspects really have. It’s wild that people weren’t crazy about ABS or sequential gearboxes back then, but they’re very much commonplace nowadays.
What other platforms from this era of touring car racing are you a fan of?