Larry bible once wrote:
"One reason I believe that this is so, is that these cars were designed in Germany by Germans for Germans, and Germans typically don't have much use for an automatic transmission in this size car. The automatic is an engineering after thought which is added to a car that has been optimized for a manual transmission. It is added mainly for the US market. In Germany fuel costs about 400% more than in the US. Additionally cars are taxed in Germany based on engine displacement.
The engine/car combination was optimized for the five speed, and for the US market where gas is cheap, there was no need to spend any extra engineering money, when the fuel mileage with automatic was acceptable for it's place in the US market. "
I would like to reason this position alternatively using pure reason based on a definition of the "luxury car". It is likely that the 300e is considered a luxury sedan in Germany, certainly so in North America; the nature of a luxury car is its automation, a car that drives itself, regulates its own temperature, one-touch buttons to adjust the seat, wipe you nose automatically etc., so as you are driving you can concentrate on buddah rather than the mechanics of driving. 124's in the 500 vintage are meant to be sporty as in manual but the 300e is luxury as in lazy ass. Therefore, the automatic trnasmission is not an afterthought but rather the foundation of the category; if some want standard, they are available naturally, but as you are driving your automatic 300e think of yourself as royalty to whom gear shifting is beneath.
or perhaps as a dinosaur waiting for the great extinction: your automatic luxury car is a testament to a legacy never to be seen again, to be fondly remembered as we drive plastic electric cars along pre-programmed routes to our oddly familiar jobs at state regulated speeds.