For whatever it is worth, the trans on my 87 300E always starts in second (unless I have it in 2 or floor it), and even when cold, always shifts at a "normal" low rpm without winding out. At least so far, anyway.
2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
2015 Palladium Silver/black mbtex GLK 350
1987 Smoke Silver/burgundy mbtex 300E Sportline (SOLD)
Click to see 87 300E