The 180's W120 (41 kW; 55 hp ) engine was slightly bigger but still used the old cylinder-heating, although with its performance considerably enhanced after being fitted with side valves.
The 180, the first Mercedes based on a monocoque-bodied design, was initially available only with a petrol engine, although the ever-popular option of diesel was soon to follow.
With feedback flying into Mercedes-Benz that the 180 was still underpowered, the company wasted little time in introducing a more powerful engine, the inline-four cylinder W136.
The W136 engine provided sufficient power to make the 180 a more attractive proposition, with the car remaining in production well into the early Sixties.
The 180's stablemate, the 190, made its tentative debut at the 1954 New York Auto Show.
In prototype format only, the 190 enjoyed such a positive reception that Mercedes wasted little time in putting the model into production during the 1955 production season.
The Mercedes-Benz 190 was the first model from the Stuttgart auto giant to have its four-cylinder engine fitted to have overhead valves with an overhead camshaft.
The 190 version was also available as a three-seater convertible.
Often referred to as "Pontoons" because of their boat like shape. the 180-190 pair were the mainstay of Mercedes' lineup during their production runs. Between 1953 and 1959, the Pontoons made up for well over half of the company's production output.
One of the driving forces of the 190's success was their entry into the US market. Much of the credit for Mercedes gaining a toehold on the unlimited US market of the needs to go leading distributor Max Hoffman.
Born in Austria, Hoffman had moved to the United States where he established a succesful business as a major importer of European cars .