No, the cradle is not required. See posts 1 and 3 at http://www.benzworld.org/forums/aud...13173-how-guide-cell-phone-upgrades-plug.html
In particular, read the sections in post 3 on the Cradle Eliminator Cable and the V60 puck. Also, pay close attention to the info on the "blue label" PSE and the Universal PSE. Sorry the "blue label" stuff is sketchy, but that's all there is.
Essentially you need a V60 puck, a cradle eliminator cable, and EITHER an existing "blue label" PSE or a Universal PSE.
Do NOT become confused over the V60 "puck with tail." It does not work with your car.
If you already have a V60 phone setup, including the cradle, all you need to add is the V60 puck; but be aware, the V60 puck was made for a slightly larger cradle that came out in '03, and may be a tight fit in older cradles - this has caused problems with the puck making good contact. If that is the case, replace the cradle with a cradle eliminator cable.
The phone bulletin link in the "How-To Guide" will help you locate equipment in your car, and to identify what you have.
If you followed the link I gave you in my first response above, it had a picture of a V60 puck. It also had a part number. The puck would be in your center console, if you have one.