My W204 C63 v W205 C63 - some thoughts

Engadine

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This is a topic that has been very well covered on this board, but on the basis that each owner provides a new perspective, here are my views.

I am currently the owner of a W204 C63 Estate, 2013 model, 19 inch wheels, otherwise standard.

I have been waiting a while for a new W205 C63S, which arrives next month. As my new car is so late, and because I have promised my current car to someone, my dealer has provided me with a W205 C63 (not S), 2020 model, saloon, for daily driving for the last 2.5 months.

This is actually more of a like for like than my new car, which is an S, end of run with all the equipment packages. So while I am in the rare position of having a foot in both camps - owning a W204 C63, daily driving a W205 C63 - I thought I would share my views.

Here are some thoughts:

W204 C63 Estate:
The best car I have owned, all round.
Things I love:
- The steering. So beautifully weighted and with actual feel
- The feel, in general. You know what the car's doing and have feel through the chassis.
- The engine - when driven hard, that crescendo, the kick above 3000 rpm, another kick above 4000 rpm. Feels like a proper exotic, always amazed it's a mass produced engine
- The sound, especially with windows down. (Actually quite quiet with windows up)
- The togetherness of the handling and experience on any kind of proper road
- The size - just narrow enough
- The front seats
- The looks. W204 C63 estate on 19 inch wheels looks mean without being flashy, cool dimensions, purposeful.

Things that I like less:
- The ride on the 19 inch wheels is crashy
- No LSD means real issues with traction, not just flat out but for example making a right turn across a greasy road, and so on
- The engine seemed muscular until I tried the below
- When new, the gearbox was fine. Now (and it's still functioning fine), compared to the newest boxes, its a bit jerky and slow
- C mode gearshifts in auto come at too low rpms, S mode means jerky throttle in traffic (relative to the below)

W205 C63 Saloon (2020):
This is not my car (see above) so I am less emotionally attached..but here are the things I love:
- The engine. That torque, in town and extra-urban driving (which is much of my driving). Less like a turbo than like an electric car. In everyday driving, where I drive, this car is a lot faster than the W204. On longer country drives, performance feels around the same when you wring it out. But make no mistake, this is a glorious engine, also, just different. I think it sounds better than, and has as good a power characteristic as, Ferrari's TT V8. I also like the way this TT V8 loves to rev. and its throttle response
- The interior ambience. Does feel like a shrunken S class
- Handling. Turn in is much quicker and flatter than W204. I didn't think there was much wrong with the W204's turn in, til I lived with this. Much more proficient, less roll. Also much more balanced, predictable and fun at the limit
- The sound. With performance exhaust on loud, it's a lot louder than the W204. Even on quiet, it's thrumbly. It does seem more exhaust-ish and less engine intake based, though. A bit less authentic
- The LSD. this is brilliant, simply transforms winter driving in all circumstances
- The traction, related to the above but even stepping off in a straight line in the wet, amazing for RWD. So much better than 204.
- A like not a love, but the 360 camera is very useful

I generally love the gentleman's muscle-car demeanor, which is carried over from the W204.

Things I like less:
- The electric steering is for me much better than that on many other cars. Excellent for what it is. But not as good as the above
- Flat torque curve needs getting used to. Great punch, but no crescendo
- Less feel at normal road speeds. In a line of traffic moving fast on a country road, feels like any fast saloon; W204 always feels special, always feels
- The looks: it's more under the radar than the W204 estate, whether this is good or not is subjective

Which do I prefer? Having given it a lot of thought, it depends completely on circumstance.

- For medium-fast driving: the kind you would do every day if you live outside a big city, and were driving to somewhere else outside a big city. Some trafficked roads, some back road blasts, a lot of driving within limits set by other traffic: the W204. It comes down to feel: the W204 makes you feel special when you are driving at normal open road speeds. Slow down behind someone turning left on an A road, change down to second, and the few seconds it takes you to roar through the rev range and back to the end of the line of traffic travelling at 65mph are memorable and exciting. In this sense it's more like an old Ferrari V12 GT than a sports saloon, and that's the engine and steering combined.

The W205 doesn't have that. It just surges you back to 65mph, simples. Much less exciting by comparison on this kind of drive.

- For fast road driving: in the middle of nowhere, empty roundabouts, a tad wet, stretches of dual carriageway with some empty twisty roads beyond: the W205. The handling, when pushed, is that much better. It's not just the LSD: the lack of roll, even in C mode, is notable. Turn in is of a lighter car (though it's not). Cornering is flatter. With the LSD, corner exits are brilliant, hilarious, huge fun, safe, full of feel and excitement. Like a game. You don't have this feeling of a car leaning and then broaching its limits, you feel it's the power pushing the tail out very manageably and the electronics helping you catch it. Loads of feel.

The W204 feels far less accomplished by comparison.

- For city driving: the W205. Instant power on step off, huge torque between 1500-3000 rpm (which is what you use in any city/exurb), flat entry to corners/roundabouts, classier feeling materials in the cabin, much smoother transmission, plus all the new mod cons (the camera, better satnav (though still not great)). More refinement. Better ride.

In conclusion, they are slightly different types of car. I can see why a W204 owner (like me, now) might be disappointed that the W205 is not simply better in every way, because steering and engine experience, and overall feedback, in certain circumstances are not as good. And if those very specific factors are your priorities, then the W204 is a better car for you. But the W205 is better in many key ways, still. It's much faster, handles better (steering aside), more comfortable and more refined. As well as being newer.

And my personal conclusion? Probably because I tend to either drive in the city, or on fast road blasts, I am sad but pleased I have made my choice to change next month. If I lived, as my wife's family does, in the South Downs and my daily drives were elsewhere in the South Downs, the choice would be harder, although I'd still make the change. As others have said, the W205 is a better car all round.

In fact, I realize I've said pretty much what Chris Harris said in his first video review of the W205 C63S...so you could have ignored me and watched the video instead.
 

Steve84N

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I enjoyed reading that and would agree with all you've said. The LSD is easily fixed in the 204 but it should have been standard. What makes a truly great car is when all parts of the drivetrain and controls are nice to use. The gearbox in the 204 doesn't live up to the engine, a manual would suit it better in some respects.

I'm sure you're glad to have enjoyed the 204 for a while and will derive new pleasures from the 205. I'm still on the fence about switching, mainly because I might take a different direction. Trying to get a family car that does it all is impossible really. I fancy a mapped 540i Touring for family and an Elise for high days.
 

kepler452b

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The W204 feels far less accomplished by comparison.

Without an LSD as others have said the 204 is not fully exploited. Thankfully I have the factory LSD and performance suspension and I can say that it was a far more involved and exciting drive than my friends c63s edition 1…

The performance suspension eliminates any unnecessary body roll. The whole chassis is tight, planted and is everything you could want in a true performance car. Without the LSD and performance suspension not sure the above applies…
 

badgx

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I was just looking at the advert below, road tax only £155 for the year, does that sound right 🙀

 

AMGeed

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I was just looking at the advert below, road tax only £155 for the year, does that sound right 🙀


Not a chance. Lazy advertising.
Its nearer £500 pa which is less than I pay.

 

Muckypaps

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I think you be be incorrect with your car tax at £500
£155 is correct, I’ve noticed an S63 at the same cost for 237g/km

 

badgx

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If it is £155, then that's very good for a V8. I'm struggling to believe and digest it though, as my wife's 2litre 4 cylinder Mazda 6 is £155 for the year and here we have a V8 at £155.
 

AMGeed

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I think you be be incorrect with your car tax at £500
£155 is correct, I’ve noticed an S63 at the same cost for 237g/km

No so young man;)
The rate of £155 applies to cars under the value of £40k new and classed as "standard rate"
Cars over £40k new attract the premium rate which in 2021/22 will be £490.

Check the ** and *** in your link.
 

Spider10

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My late 2016 c63 is £315 road tax😀 abit easier to swallow than the £600 for the w204
 

Jamsxr

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Nice write up.

I was initially in the market for a W204 estate but I’ve switched to the W205 estate, for most of the reasons you’ve highlighted.

I think the W204 would still be my choice for a garage queen, but this will be my daily and the overall package of the W205 is better for my needs.

Coming form a 340i estate I’m looking forward to making the switch from 6 to 8 cylinders.
 

Steve84N

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So a 2018 model will still be £490 in 2022

Wish my 2014 model was £155 (or even £490)
I get the pleasure of shelling out £585 a year. At least its not a new one!
I was more pointing it out to the others who aren't aware of the latest version because long term a V8 can be just £155.

The whole thing is a joke and has been for many years. Each government makes up its own rules and then leaves all the old ones in place, a right dogs dinner. As much as I hate paying £600 a year it's not high enough to put me off.
 

badgx

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I pay £1355 totalling in annual taxes on 3 household cars. I would have preferred to do monthly direct debit but it works out a bit more 🙄
 

Rich764089

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I pay £1355 totalling in annual taxes on 3 household cars. I would have preferred to do monthly direct debit but it works out a bit more 🙄
This is making me realise how much I pay in road tax. I've deliberately not added it up before 😉
 

Bobby Dazzler

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This is making me realise how much I pay in road tax. I've deliberately not added it up before 😉
Yes somethings are best left a mystery. I know I spend more in our local Starbucks than anyone else, but I really don’t want to know quite how much! I love a Starbucks but knowing might take the shine off it - I enjoy it too much to want to know just how much it costs! 😁
 

Vikz65

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£490 would be year 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Year 1 doesn’t include the extra for being over £40k. Guess they thought oh you’ve just forked out on a new car let’s be a bit nice!

You pay it for 5 years from the second year.

Just a big piss take really.
 

Yex

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The W204 feels far less accomplished by comparison.

Without an LSD as others have said the 204 is not fully exploited. Thankfully I have the factory LSD and performance suspension and I can say that it was a far more involved and exciting drive than my friends c63s edition 1…

The performance suspension eliminates any unnecessary body roll. The whole chassis is tight, planted and is everything you could want in a true performance car. Without the LSD and performance suspension not sure the above applies…

This is very true. I have the factory performance suspension, Quaife ATB Diff and Pilot Sport 4S tyres on my 507 Coupe and the fact my car can corner rather well has surprised a few people on occasion :cool:

I have been in a 205 C63S and they are fantastic machines that have improved over the 204 series in most respects, and can have c100 horses added very easily. However, the standard 205 cars are not the vast improvement they are believed to be over 204 cars with appropriate modifications, or factory options fitted. I will be moving on from C63 ownership in the Spring/Summer of this year and heading into a GT3. This change of direction will give me a new and more involving driving experience that I am looking forward to, whilst still remaining analog with a high revving NA engine. I feel if I was to go to a 205 C63S I would feel it to be a significant improvement on the inside but not have the analog driving experience that I love so much in my 204.

Each to their own ;)
 

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