German maker of really reliable, well-built cars. E36 3 series hold up really well inside and out, are fun as hell to drive, the 4 cylinders get great gas mileage and decent pickup for their class with nice weight behind them, and they can be had for decent prices. They're really not so beyond many wages. BMW's 4-cylinder engines have always been their most durable... and they usually, when maintained decently, last DECADES.
Repairs CAN get more expensive than with other cars, but if you look around, find one with lower mileage (less than 120K,) don't drive like a wretched fucking asshole, have a good indie German specialist mechanic in your area, and can stay on top of stuff as it happens, you'll be alright, and might not even need to spend more money than you would on any other less-quality used car from the same time... and be driving a friggin' amazing car. Car and Driver rated E36s best car every year they were sold.
No comment or defense for the asshole drivers with the dreaded and very real BMW syndrome.
FRIENDLY REMINDER TO THE LESS ROAD-CONSCIOUS BMW DRIVER: Don't bring shame to such an awesome car company. Your turn signals. Fucking use them. YOU FUCKING KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT OKAY. Thanks so much.
The BMWs are sexehh.