Not to repeat what everyone else said but:
VWs can be fun, reliable and you can do a lot of modding for a decent price.
Japanese imports are reliable and fun. If you blow a motor or tranny, they are way cheaper to replace those parts than any BMW. I love the old school 300zx, they rock.
BMWs are wonderful driving machines that have a lot of potential. They can be costly to mod. Don't let the size of the engine fool you, they can be quite a handful to drive and handle.
Good luck with your search. When you find a car, post a link so that we can all see it. May the German Gods help you find the ultimate driving machine