When my daughter was in college she was gifted a '90's W210 from her grandfather. As you stated it was a pure joy to drive. I appreciated the detailed appointments such as the radio with the NOAA weather stations and the intricate and robotic cup holder that screamed, "Take that you American coffee-hunds!". After discovering that Dupli-color Ford Oxford white was an excellent match for the bodywork, I painstakingly repaired all the dings and such that it had accumulated. It was a great car. I was heartbroken when my daughter told me that she could not keep it because in the urban environment of Milwaukee where she was studying, the car made her look like a "target". We unceremoniously traded it for another "300", but this time it was an L300 wagon from Saturn. I wished that I had a space in my own automotive stable at the time.
The rear parking warning assists in vehicles are so under rated. I used to think I could do better and would just use mirrors and turn my head. I got my new Tacoma and it beeps at me when it finds things coming into rear view of the camera. It is a great feature. Or when I get close to hitting something when in reverse. Particularly in busy parking lots it is a life saver.
Our family Benzes, from my grandfather’s 1985 300 TD wagon through my 1982 manual 240D, 1978 300D, and finally a W124 300E, were great cars — until the old independent mechanics who could deal with finicky vacuum-assisted locks and climate control retired, and certain parts became very difficult to find and expensive, esp. in Canada. Even the W210 E200 (four-banger!) we borrowed from a friend in Germany and put 10K km on one summer was a great car at 2 and at 200 km/h, though precisely as cheap and nasty inside as you point out. I miss the 240D most of all.