Whatever you think. I spent a total of about seven weeks in Europe last year, most of it in Germany. Being the MB fanatic that I am, I looked inside most every MB that I walked past. A large majority of 124's were manual transmissions, and few of them had engines as large as the 3 liter, M103. The 300E is one of the faster 124's in Europe. Remember fuel costs about four times as much in Europe.
I stand by my theory that the 124 car was designed with a manual transmission in mind.
For those who enjoy the mindless experience of an automatic transmission, I'm very happy for them. I HEAVILY prefer an automatic, and detest driving anything with an automatic. The only thing I detest MORE about an automatic than driving it, is working on it, or paying for a new one.
So, as to my own personal philosophy, I am very pleased that those that like their automatic transmissions have them. I'm even more pleased that we have the 1,000 or so precious manual transmissioned 300E's in the US. I'm even more pleased that I'm fortunate enough to have one.
Each to his own,