Thanks for the response. In my signature, you only see my MB's. I don't have enough time or room in this post to list all the various stick shift cars I've owned over the years, not to mention the 4+3 Vette which I currently own. On the Vette forums and everywhere else, people say some of the same things about the 4+3 that you say about MB transmissions. I haven't driven the 4+3 as far as the Benz's, only 115,000 miles, but it's driven hard, and it's still in great shape. The last time I had any failures with a manual transmission, was a '66 Mustang six cylinder three speed work car, now there's a weak manual transmission for you. I know you probably think that I'm a 45MPH in the left lane old poop, but I've also done a good bit of racing in my early years. In the early 70's I bracket raced a Camaro with an Open Chamber 454 and a rock crusher Muncie 4 Speed. I was adequately consistent with the four speed to be competitive against the automatics. In the course of a heavy season, I went through a clutch, but ended the season with the same transmission.
Just because you can drive a manual fast, doesn't mean you can conserve one.
I do agree that the MB's manuals feel a little strange, but that is not because of the transmission, it's because of the flex discs that cause the "wind up".
Also, it's not as if I lug along in my 300E. I commute 190 miles per day round trip. About 150 of that is on two lane roads where I have to do some aggressive passing. There is some aggressive shifting involved. Most of the time the commute is done in my 240D in which I probably am a lugging along old poop, after all, what can you do with 67 HP? But the 300E is my back up car, and I grow devils horns when I drive it. The Vette is the backup to the backup, and I turn into a terror when driving it.
I contend that with experience and practice you can drive almost any manual transmission aggressively without transmission failure.
I'm enjoying the conversation, keep it up.
Best of luck,