Well, the replacement process was fairly easy.
1. On the E320, there are two philips head screws inside the small glove box in the center console. Once removed, that unit rotates aft and out of the console.
2. With the shift lever trim plate removed (can be done first as suggested by vinamg), the only trick was to figure out how to remove the wood panel, and not crack any of the finish, etc.
3. Luckily, the only thing now holding the panel in place turned out to be the electrical connector for the dual electric side view mirror control switch. Gentle but firm pressure is required to break that connection. The entire wood panel now comes out by rotating the back end up, thereby pulling the front "hooks" off of the rod they "grab".
*note: There is also a small slotted flange that protrudes into the console from the rear of the wood panel, but no fastener was there in my case. Probably should be, but I could find no evidence of a hole where any screw had been before. This flange was exposed when the glove box was removed.
4. Light bulb and socket came out of the left-front corner of the shift unit. Bulb came out easily for me, and the replacement did not offer the same grief as Paul experienced.
Put everything back and backlight now works!
I will have to do this again since the small 1.2W bulb I had was not exactly the same as the one I took out. It was a bit longer and did not have the plastic base that the bad one had, but my wife wanted the light to work. Who am I to argue?
Anyway, hope this helps anyone else who needs to change this bulb. I appreciate the assistance of all who gave it.