My 2004 BMW 3-series, on a visit to San Francisco in 2005.
Given that I had a chance to buy a low-mileage, high-efficiency (at least on the highway) luxury car for a mere $21K, instead of a brand-new example for $35-40K (or spend the same $21K for a much lesser vehicle), I decided to go ahead and keep my BMW. I'm hoping that it will give me several more years of reliable service and lots of road trips.
The car will remain a low-miler, as I had also acquired a used Honda Accord as a daily driver; a leftover car from my sister's divorce, it came my way because I needed something that was efficient in city driving (and low-key, as the BMW stands out too much at some of my work sites). I get 25 MPG in mixed driving with the Accord, a respectable number - though nowhere near the 35-40 MPG I could expect in, say, a Civic hybrid.
My two-car lifestyle can be seen by some as being wasteful. But at least, the two cars are completely paid for, and I no longer have to guzzle so much gas in daily city driving. Both cars are considered the best all-around choices in their respective classes.
And the best thing: it will be a while before I will have to worry about buying yet another car. I could succumb to the SoCal "you are what you drive" culture, and buy something really expensive then, but more likely I'll look at a hybrid, a diesel, a subcompact, or something just as ecologically responsible. Or I will do both by buying a luxury hybrid - I expect quite a few to be available over the next several years. And most importantly, I could be more choosy about the manufacturer's practices by the time I return to the new car market; for example, if BMW continues to coddle Benedict XVI and Mercedes-Benz comes up with a much better C-class, I will gladly switch.