Haibert88, sounds like part of what you're enjoying is developing a little driving finesse--always worthwhile. I'm over 50 and still enjoy feathering the brake so the final actual stop is as close to imperceptible as I can get. But then, I do enjoy the power available in my MB--especially for merging into a freeway fast enough that nobody has to slow at all for me.
Yes, the stoplight drag race is usually about who can get to the next red light faster; and no, it doesn't make much sense.
Other than driving intelligently, as you're discussing, the most important way to respect your machinery is indeed to service it by the book, and learn what you can about handling the simpler things yourself. Not only can it be fun, but you'll know a lot more about the car and catch on much earlier when it starts trying to tell you something.
'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition
'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)
SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)