I might be mistaken as to the exact model and engine, but about 4 years or more ago, there was an article in the Star magazine about a big body Benz, with a manual transmission.
I'm pretty sure it was a 4.5, but I am very sure that it was the same body as your car. The article talked about buying the car with 250,000 miles, and the fact that it had a manual.
Again, I might be mistaken, it might have been a six cylinder car. Nonetheless it was a really neat car with a manual transmission.
Also, as far as a manual transmission in traffic goes, the only thing I like about getting stuck in stop and go, jammed up freeway traffic is that I get a chance to use the clutch and stick just that much more.
I realize that to most everyone on this forum and everywhere else that I am a NUT, but I ENJOY handling a clutch and stick. You're either a terminal, true stick shift lover, or you're not.
Additionally, if MB is such an automatic transmission specialist, how come they used automatic transmissions made by others, such as Borg-Warner, until not too many years ago? HmmMMM???
I am stuck with my daughters 300D with an automatic. ALL my other MB's have manuals. If they didn't have manuals, I wouldn't own them.
This is why they make different cars with different equipment, because we all like different things. The world would be pretty dull otherwise.
Stick and clutch forever,