i second the motion, Jim Anderson.
i still cannot figure out how to consistently shift my 89 190e2.6 5spd smoothly, after close to 3yrs of owning it. It needs a lot of attention and proper seat adjustment to do it well. In fact, i can figure out that my reflexes are bad for the day (i.e., bad hair days) when i consistently shift poorly. And when you do let out the clutch prematurely, you feel the shudder in the driveline.
when i do shift smoothly, it becomes quite satisfying, especially if i heel-and-toe the thing. If only my passengers knew how much skill that takes ...
but ask me if i would trade it in for something else ...
as for the noise heard from the outside, i believe it is not normal. That is, my car does not make those noises.