You are really going to love the BMW 3 series. If you can get one off of a lease, it is a great way to go. They are so great to drive, and if you keep it until it is about six years old, you should be able to stay out of any major maintenance issues.
If you really love to drive, get an M version. it will blow you away with its power and handling, which is a step above the already GREAT power nad handling of the 3 series.