There is a net message about the fill capacity on the W203 chassis, it has been reduced to 8 quarts. We were getting lots of complaints of the indicator reading "Oil Level Too High", so we were suspicious about this, sure enough they came out with a bulletin on it, please check it out.
BrianC, yes it is possible to drain it from below, pretty easy, just remember to replace the seal on the drain plug every time you do it. Most people aren't worried about all this stuff as the car comes with the Maintenance Commitment for the warranty period. If you are planning to replace the oil yourself between the FSS services, be sure to use the recommended Mobil1 oil, 0W40 if you can find it.
There are also 4 rubber o-rings on the oil filter cap assm. that comes with the filter, be sure to replace those as well.
On question 4, "bunk" I'd say.