I agree wholeheartedly with Larry. That is why I spent so many hours on my computer scouring the internet for a manual 300E.
No matter how sophisticated the automatic transmissions become, they will never be able to see what is coming and set you up to be on the right part of the torque curve for what you want to do when you get there. And if they get better at responding to manual inputs that might be an improvement, but I see no way they can mimmic a heel and toe downshift and get the timing the way it needs to be to keep the rear wheels where you want them and doing what you want them to do.
The 1999 C230 Kompressor/Sport has a terrible response to manual inputs, mainly because the computer evaluates your input based on other inputs from sensors and then acts. Nasty, unacceptable, non-standard delays that really detract from controlling the car's position and attitude on the road. I was so unnerved by it I took the car back to the dealer and asked to have it checked out. I was told that is the way it is. It seems the 1998 E300D TurboDiesel has the same set up, so I rarely move the lever out of drive when out and about. A manual would really make that car perfect.
Automatics have a place on earth I suppose, I just don't approve of them in my driveway. Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)