WITH increasing frequency, I get into a new car and find myself banging my head or elbow on something that&rsquo;s infringing on the space inside the cabin. Take this latest coupe. As I lean forward to adjust the steering column, my head connects with some protrusion above as soon. Airbags, impact protection bars and no end of occupant safety features abound, which is ultimately good news, but can be annoying nonetheless.<br /><br />So here we have the new Mercedes E-class E250 CDI BlueEfficiency Coupe SE (and breathe). Just to confuse matters, it&rsquo;s not a 2.5 litre engine but a 2.2 litre unit. If you&rsquo;re looking at this for your next car then you&rsquo;ve probably also looked at Audi&rsquo;s A5, BMW&rsquo;s 6-series and VW&rsquo;s Passat CC, not forgetting the latest brand on the block, Infiniti, with its G37 Coupe. <br /><br />One thing to note about coupes is that they tend to have long doors, so bear that in mind when you&rsquo;re in a crowded car park &ndash; leave as much space as possible between you and the next car.<br /><br /><strong>FRUGAL ENGINE</strong><br />This two-door model has effectively replaced the C-class, but the cabin environment is all about the E class and it exudes more of an &ldquo;executive&rdquo; feel and is less cosy. Headroom in the rear is nothing special, which is not dissimilar to other coupes, but if that&rsquo;s not an issue then the Merc will provide plenty of comfort and space up front.<br /><br />This is the most frugal of engines in the Merc stable, and I made good use of the car while it was with me, taking it to the West Country and many points east, but I didn&rsquo;t have to refuel once in seven days. Power is laid down smoothly from the 204bhp here, and there&rsquo;s a healthy amount of torque available from early on in the range too.<br /><br /><strong>NICELY WEIGHTED</strong><br />Okay, it&rsquo;s not the most exciting of drives but as a motorway mile-muncher and commute tool it delivers a very decent ride and all the relaxation-inducing comforts of the &ldquo;executive&rdquo; toy in coupe form. It is also impressively quiet inside once you get it on the road, especially given its frameless windows. This is a nod to design and good craftsmanship, not to mention build quality.<br /><br />Steering is nicely weighted and the paddle-shift semi-automatic gearbox works well &ndash; no abrupt gear changes here. If it&rsquo;s a sporty experience you&rsquo;re after, it is possible to alter the dynamics of the car via the Sport button and make use of the paddles to achieve more connection.<br /><br />Boot space is generous, and taking the car over to our neighbouring European countries for a spin would be little effort, with cruise control on the motorway and first-class satellite navigation. The test car was fitted with Navigation 50, an option that costs &pound;1,150 but that comes with all the usual tricks of Bluetooth, iPod/MP3 connectivity, USB storage media, CD/DVD et al. Meanwhile, the standard equipment list deserves its own supplement.<br /><br />Almost certainly the E class Coupe will prove most popular in automatic rather than manual form and it&rsquo;s the best buy for power versus consumption in the range.<br /><br /><strong>THE FACTS:</strong><br />MERCEDES-BENZ E CLASS COUPE <br /><strong>0&ndash;62MPH: </strong>7.4 SECS<br /><strong>TOP SPEED: </strong>153 MPH<br /><strong>MPG</strong><br /><strong>COMBINED:</strong> 45.6<br /><strong>CO2 G/KM: </strong>168<br /><strong>OTR PRICE: </strong>&pound;36,757<br /><br />THE VERDICT<br />DESIGN <br />PERFORMANCE<br />PRACTICALITY<br />VALUE FOR MONEY<br />