I'm sorry 400E, I forgot to answer that question! No, my 1995 C280 does not have the "SmartKey" (TM).
They started the SmartKey in 98 for the 202 chassis.
So I'd rule that out as being a culprit.
But it was so weird... yesterday morning, it was 18 dF in the morning when I started my car (BLIZZARD!!!!). It was really weird... because I cranked it for like 4 seconds, noticed that it didn't start, and then when I released the key (/starter), it caught and started right up! After a short drive and coolant temps about 50 dF, I restarted the car after stopping, and it started normally (cranked for only a second or two, me releasing the key when the engine caught).