HWA’s Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evo II restomod is the ultimate 1990s throwback

HWA AG’s recreation of the 90s super saloon looks just as crazy as the original

For those that watched and loved German touring car racing in the 1990s, HWA AG’s upcoming “revival of a motorsport classic” in the shape of the HWA Evo will be the stuff of dreams. It might not have any ‘Mercedes’ badges on the exterior, but this is an unmistakable homage to the iconic Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evo II.  

HWA, suitably based in Affalterbach (the same city as Mercedes-AMG), says the upcoming ‘HWA Evo’ is a “furious reinterpretation of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II - equipped with state-of-the-art technologies.”

Founded in 1998, HWA’s DTM team has won the Drivers’ Championship eight times and taken 11 manufacturer titles by using Mercedes cars. During the late nineties the firm helped make the road-legal homologated version of the Mercedes CLK-GTR, called the “Strassenversion”, to make it eligible for Le Mans. The HWA Evo is a continuation of the firm’s close partnership with Mercedes.

Hans Werner Aufrecht, founder of HWA said of the project: "The Evo II was a design icon of the early 1990s and set benchmarks in terms of style. Our idea was to reinterpret this design.”

500 units of the Evo II were built (all black and then a further two in silver) in order for the car to race in DTM. The HWA Evo certainly sticks to the visual drama of the original car, but with some key changes, which you’d hope so given HWA AG has spent over 12,000 hours developing and designing its Evo. 

This latest image follows on from a couple of drawings of the car and gives us a finalised look at HWA AG’s recreation. The new car is based on a W201 series Mercedes - which was penned by legendary designer Bruno Sacco.

The 190E Evo II’s flared wheel arches are even bigger on the restomod and feature a set of retro-inspired six-spoke wheels instead of the turbo-fan style we saw in the drawings last year. To the front, we can see a bumper that looks similar to the original car’s but with a larger lip spoiler. 

The massive rear wing takes on the same design as the one on the original 190E Evo. The rear light has been smoothed over, with a new interpretation of the corrugated shape seen on the old light clusters. Pointedly, there are no Mercedes badges or even a three-pointed star on the bonnet. We do see a single-exit exhaust tip (merely a shroud for a shotgun-style tip) and ‘HWA’ and ‘Evo’ badging to the rear. 

HWA says the car’s powertrain, performance, chassis, brakes, aerodynamics and safety will all be “state-of-the-art”, although technical specifications are yet to be finalised. The HWA car will also be much rarer than the original Evo II’s initial 500-unit production run with only 100 examples planned. Pricing will be, frankly, astronomical - 714,000 euros (equivalent to around £624,000 plus VAT).

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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