My view on 204 vs 205 C63

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Steve84N

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
1,421
Location
Gloucestershire
Car
C63 AMG S204
So after getting on for 4 years in an S204 C63 Estate I finally took a test drive in a 205 C63 S Estate, trying to decide if it's something I want to change into or not. Here's my take on the comparison, it's not right or wrong, just my opinion.

Looks - the 205 wins here for me, there's no angle I dislike and the interior is lovely (save for the stuck on screen). That said, the only angle I don't like on the 204 is the front and I think the interior is just as nice. Opening/closing the door on my 204 has a nice solid, soft clunk but the 205 felt 'too easy' and a bit hollow.

Seats - the salesman moved my car forward a few feet to take some pictures and immediately said oh wow these seats are amazing and better than the 205. I found the 205 bucket seats comfortable enough but they don't hug you in the same way, even with the bolsters adjusted. I was hoping the 205 seats would go lower as that's a pet hate on the 204 but they still didn't go low enough. 204 wins here and the seats still look the part too.

Technology - this 205 had lane assist mumbo jumbo that I didn't even try. The rest of it is similar as far as I'm concerned. What I need/want is a reasonable stereo, cruise control/speed limiter (not fussed about the radar version), decent headlights and the ability to connect a phone. The 204 gives me all that, nice to haves would be a HUD and Android Auto. The latter I may add through my existing screen. Otherwise, I'm not compelled to change for tech.

Brakes - not an area the 204 is lacking and I don't use them hard anyway. This 205 has the ceramic front brakes so I was curious to see what they're like. On the road I wouldn't bother, they lack a bit of bite when fully cold and thereafter felt like steels. They'd only be worth it if you hammer brakes and let's be honest the C63 isn't a great track car as it's too heavy.

Steering - the 204 is hydraulic and has a consistent feel at all speeds that just feels so creamy in your hands. The 205 goes too light at parking speeds and loses some of that delicious feel. I know it shouldn't matter going slow but the 204 is still nice going slow. When up to speed the 205 steering is sharp and does tell you what's going on so I'm sure I'd like it enough.

Cornering - the 204 isn't the sharpest tool but it turns well. The 205 in S+ corners very flat and digs in hard. It felt very precise and was as good as I'd hoped.

Gearbox - this was a pre-facelift 205 so still an evolution of the 204 7spd. It did seem a bit more responsive to paddle inputs but was still a little tardy. In auto the 204 gearbox is actually very good, although I think it's a weak point on the car when using the paddles. Didn't feel I was gaining enough here to be worth a change, the later 9spd might have swayed me more.

Exhaust - sounded fruity on startup, better than I expected but not as dramatic as the 204. On the move I cannot see why you wouldn't keep the switchable exhaust 'on' all the time as it's still pretty quiet even then (I dread to think what the facelift sounds like). I really wasn't getting the emotional response I'm used to in the 204. As soon as you put it in S+ there are some more noises but it all seemed too contrived (because it is). The standard unmodified 204 exhaust strikes an excellent balance between a modestly loud burble on lighter loads and then a proper roar when gunning it. There just isn't the need for different modes.

Engine - the big one. The biturbo doesn't have much below about 2.5krpm but the 6.2 is so big chested it's already making me smile more. The biturbo will move at lower revs but needs a good half a second or so to fill its lungs. Then the torque hits in the biturbo and boy does it hit! Sort of diesel like in the rate of change of acceleration and you feel it as a push in the back. Then before you know it you're at the redline. However, there's little drama on the way to the redline, no crescendo of sound, no increasing rush. There is no discernable turbo lag once you're over 3krpm but I was hoping it had more low down than it does. Once the 6.2 is mapped to release its standard potential it has a sort of VTEC like rush from 5-7krpm that is intoxicating.

Summary - I came away feeling somewhat underwhelmed. If I had to sum it up in a word I'd say the 205 felt hollow compared to the 204. The 205 is quick, sounds pretty good but wasn't giving me that special feeling that the 204 did immediately when I first test drove it. The 204 is fun going slow or fast, the 205 only comes alive when going fast.

I thought the 205 could be a good all round replacement. I use mine for family duties a lot, including long trips to deep France so the extra mileage range would be handy. I just didn't find it had enough character to be a one car garage for me. I honestly think I'd have almost as much fun in a tuned BMW 340i Touring for less money, then get a second car that is more purely focused on fun. I miss the low down two seater thing, or possibly a light raw car like an Elise to get my kicks.

The 205 is currently worth a lot more than the 204 and the cost to change is another thing that put me off. Personally, I'd prefer to put the difference into a second car that does something different, like a lightweight. The 205 is up for £51,000 for a 2017 with 15k miles. Mine was valued at £21,250 which is a lot better than the £16k it got a year or two ago.

For now, the 204 is staying and it was useful to try the 205 as now I'm happier spending money on mine. Some KW V3s perhaps and a bigger oil cooler...

Thanks for reading if you've made it this far. 🙃

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I didn't like the 205 as much as I hoped I would, so on balance I prefer the 204. I walked into it with the intention of confirming I want a 205 as a replacement to keep for as long as we're allowed to drive ICE cars, not to bash the 205.
 
Interesting mini test; thanks for sharing.
S204 for me all day long. I just think it looks better.
Fire extinguisher on standby! 🔥
 
Great write up Steve, thanks. Very interesting... especially the lack of go under 3k rpm which I was surprised to hear.
I think gearboxes were the major weakness of performance MBs for a very long time!
I'm with you on the ambivalence towards tech!
 
As far as looks are concerned, that blue C63 could do with the Panamericana Grill to make it look the part.

I do like the alloys that you have on your white C63...very nice ....far better than the stock AMGs on the blue car.
 
Styling is such a personal thing. I actually really like the wheels on the 205 and had a set on my 204 for a while.

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I don't like the Panamericana grille on a C or E class as it doesn't suit the aperture imo, unlike on the AMG GT where it does, being slimmer and wider. The wheels on mine are from the run-out 507 Edition and I snapped them up, partly because they're forged and the right size, plus the standard ones crack a lot.
 
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Great write up Steve, thanks. Very interesting... especially the lack of go under 3k rpm which I was surprised to hear.
Was wondering if the OP was driving a different car here.....Cards on the table, I haven't driven a 204 so can't comment on driveability, but lack of go under 300rpm is something the 205 does not lack. There is no discernible lag anywhere in the rev range that I can find.
 
Was wondering if the OP was driving a different car here.....Cards on the table, I haven't driven a 204 so can't comment on driveability, but lack of go under 300rpm is something the 205 does not lack. There is no discernible lag anywhere in the rev range that I can find.
Have a go in an M156 if you get the chance.

I'm talking relatively speaking here, the biturbo was still plenty swift from low down but there's quite a duality to sub 3krpm and above. There's definitely some hesitation low down, that's not really lag though, it's just the turbos outside of their ideal operating range. Plenty of reviews mention lag, but as turbo engines go it's very minimal.
 
Had my current 205 for 3 years and a 204 for 3 years before that.
For me, the 205 has more grunt low down (below 3000rpm) than the 204 ever did (even after a remap).
Agreed, there is slight lag (my pet hate) but that all but disappears above about 2500rpm... and they all come with an lsd as standard which helps massively in getting the power down.
Great that the 204 is :thumb: I guess you've probably realised that I prefer my 205 overall.
 
Both look great, but I'm another one who prefers the looks of the W204.

The W204 with W205 wheels looks perfect.
 
There will never be a c class amg to beat the 204.
 
I imagine the torque of the biturbo is much greater at 2.5-3k, than the M156, does any know? So, lag aside, I was surprised to hear it felt more sluggish.
(Yet to try an M156!).
 
Own a 204 and drove a mates 205 for a few hours, nearly fell asleep.
 

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