I agree, the ABS on my 300E doesn't produce a loud clunking.
When I lived in Minnesota I did a comparison test between our '84 190D w/o ABS and the 300E. I drove both down an ice covered road with an intersecting road.
Driving at a relatively slow speed and stepping on the brakes to make the turn off on the intersecting road simply locked up the wheels on the 190D and I skidded right past the turn.
With the 300E, I had complete control and was able to make the turn.
Note that Mercedes have a REAL ABS system which uses expensive, high speed solenoid's. For a while at least, American car manufacturer's had a cheap imitation that used cheap electric motors that did nothing but *pump* the brakes which (believe it or not) is not how ABS is supposed to work.
With ABS, the brake on the wheel(s) that is not turning is let up and then reapplied. In other words, it reacts to the conditions rather than simply imitating the old manual method of pumping the brakes.