This all depends on what kind of car you're looking for... Regular family sedans, I prefer Honda/Toyota because they are high quality, bulletproof in terms of reliability and are inexpensive to maintain. For luxury sedans, I lean towards BMW/Audi/Mercedes although you can't go wrong with Lexus. All are going to have high performance models as well as straight luxury ones, they'll all cost quite a bit to maintain due to bigger engines with more cylinders and extra technological bits. For sports cars, I am a huge fan of Porsche's range (911, cayman, boxster) as well as the BMW M3, Lotus Elise/Exige/Evora, and the Corvette Z06. For more expensive supercars, you can still go Porsche with the 911 Turbo, or go with something like an Aston Martin V8 Vantage or (the much more expensive Lexus LFA). As always, the Italians are going to have a strong presence in that market with Ferrari and Lamborghini.
I know I've given a very broad answer, but without a sense of what kind of car, budget, etc. this is the best I can do at the moment.