Not surprisingly to anyone, it’s still really hard to find a good deal for high-horsepower used cars. This used car market is unforgiving and really limits reasonable performance. Despite this, there are still some heavy bargains to be found. One of the best brands I look for is Mercedes-Benz, especially the W204 generation of the C63 AMG, which was sold between 2008 and 2015.
The W204 C63 AMG has always been underappreciated than its E90/E92 M3 rivals and still is. Comparing the prices currently in use between the two, it looks like you can pick up fewer miles on a W204 for a much less scratch than a comparable M3. They look like huge luxury performance bargains in terms of performance, utilities and general maintenance costs. It doesn’t seem to be a huge reliability issue either – at least when it comes to performance of a used luxury Germany. That’s why this chassis should be in mind for anyone after these specifications of the Teutonic Brute, RWD.
The massive call
From the outside, the C63 AMG doesn’t look all that different from the C-Class’s civil lease. Sure, it has bigger wheels, slightly wider fenders, some extra vents in the front grille, and quad exhaust tips, but it won’t raise suspicion when parked on the street.
This is the beautiful thing about them. What lies under the hood is a massive 6.2-liter V8, internally coded and referred to by enthusiasts as the M156. That’s a massive engine for the size of a W204, and Benz is blessed with the shoe industry there.
When it debuted in 2008, this Merc produced 451 horsepower, about 30 more than the M3 and the Lexus IS F. Torque was rated at 443 lb.-ft. By the end of the generation, due to some camshafts and ignition tuning, it produced 480 horsepower. From a standstill, 0-60 mph took about 3.9 seconds, and the quarter-mile was handled in just 13.2 seconds. When the driving experience was new, it was admired across the board, most notably from Jeremy Clarkson over the old maximum speed.
Several years later, at the end of the W204 AMG race, Chris Harris gave an excellent farewell video to his W204 for engine YouTube channel:
I generally like the look of these beasts, both coupe and sedan, pre-review and review, because they are the perfect German muscle. I love wild and fun cars too, but when it comes to what I personally owned and ripped off, give me a sleeper that flies under the radar.
general operating costs
If all this sounds tempting, consider the various maintenance considerations of the C63 AMG. To keep the cool C63 AMG M156 engine running, fuel economy is pretty tough by modern standards. FuelEconomy.gov rates it at 12 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, while some other sources are a bit more reliable. I would say, though, that the estimates are more conservative, as this is a sports sedan meant for loud pedaling. Plus, it requires premium fuel.
Then there are the maintenance and care items to highlight – nothing too terrible here. When you look at ECS tuning, the parts costs don’t look too bad, nor do the maintenance periods. You’ll need to change your automatic transmission fluid every 40,000 miles, which is made by ECS and other companies. It also takes a lot of high-quality oil, but what does a German car not need?
As far as reliability is concerned, the biggest are the M156 header bolts. They had a tendency to break, kill head gaskets, mix oil and coolant, and then destroy the engine, all in one fell swoop. Although, according to ExoticCarHacks.com (about this issue and many other things to know about the W204), this was reviewed by Mercedes midway through 2011. It should be a concern on 2011 and earlier cars, with Specify the VIN on 2011 cars, but not for models released from 2012 and later. If the last five digits of the VIN are less than 60658, the problem with the head bolt from the factory will not be fixed.
Engines can also have cam riser issues and timing chain tensioner issues, but they should be easy to diagnose, as they usually create a lot of noise under the hood. Then, there are some suspension and brake issues. The front control arms should be checked for damage, excessive vibration may occur due to failure of the engine mounts. Furthermore, the rear brake lines should be checked for rust, the 19-inch wheels should be checked for cracking, and the brake rotors should be checked for warping and cracks. Apparently, these cars are also prone to some interior creaking and interior decoration problems, but these are pretty moderate in the grand scheme of things. After a quick look at CarComplaints.com, there isn’t much.
Pricing and more fun things to note
After some searching on AutoTempest.com, it appears that high mileage, and fairly good examples fetch at least $16,000 in our current market. However, the place seems to be close to $30,000, where you might be able to find a post 2011 model with 70,000-90,000 miles in this area. A value of around $25,000 can be found, but there’s a good chance it’s a pre-2011 model with some mileage. However, if the bolt head issue is resolved and comes with a good service history, this could be a hell of a deal.
For 2012, the car received a major update. That gave it a nice facelift, a quick-shift AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT automatic gearbox, launch control, and some great interior amenities. While the W204 was in operation, Mercedes offered a P30 Performance Package that shocked the power with 480 hp, and this remained the same in 2012, although it was recoded as a P31 package and included some smooth carbon parts, such as the full carbon box spoiler.
All in all, the C63 AMG sounds like an incredibly fun and loud value. There’s room in the aftermarket to accommodate anyone who wants tighter, tighter suspension, stronger brakes, a louder exhaust, more power, and different wheels, too. I drove the newer generation W205 C63 AMG and was totally intrigued, but it lacks the big displacement rage that a W204 has. Additionally, no figure under $45,000 can be found in this market, and they usually have close to 100,000 miles or more at this price point.
In addition, 2008-2012 was the ideal setting for modern high-tech luxury sports sedans. The C63 AMG, E90/92 M3 and Lexus IS F all debuted in 2008 and have lasted for this entire time period. All are modern enough to feel like new and well-appointed fare, but also very outdated by today’s standards, which is great for those who can’t afford what their successors bring.
By the same token, this ancient era maximum speed It is by far my favorite and it helped shape me into the enthusiastic car writer I am today. I think it would be great to pick one of these someday, especially the stealthy W204. Assuming its engine stays bolted, I can keep it fueled, and equipped with unshielded rear tires. Regarding the latter, it would be difficult not to wear them at an alarming rate.