My opinion. i wouldn't choose either. If i had to pick one, though, it would most likely be Benz.
The brand i would pick is Volvo.
Volvo's seem to have a lot of luxury options as Benz's around the 60-70k range for around 30-45k Plus Volvo's are really into safety, as is Benz, and i saw some features that Volvo had that i didn't see on the benz's. Specifically the radar technology used for cruse control in the Volvo S80.
I would have to look more into both company's, and BMW, before i could really be sure though.
@ the focus conversation: focus's are very good cars. I like them a lot really. I was looking at getting one once i upgraded from my escort. but then i found my Trans Am, so if course i picked it
Really though I'm not a fan of the hatches really. I like the ZX4's a lot better. Great fun car either way.