Sportier and better value?
Depends on what you're going to do with the car. If you only drive the average 13K miles per year, the BMW is usually more fun to drive and easier to get with a manual transmission. For limited mileage usage it will last until you're sick and tired of it.
For high mileage users, such as myself(50,000 miles/year) the BMW won't give you the high mileage that the equivalent MB will.
This has been my experience,
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, manual, 533K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in