About a month ago, I was involved in a crash that claimed the life of my first car ever.

I’ve been recovering from the crash physically and from a broken heart since then.

On a slightly positive note, my insurance has offered me $5,500 to replace my car. I’m torn between getting a reliable or an exciting car and I need your help!

I would like to find a car thats:

1. In the Houston area

2. Less than $6500

3. Not a project car. But maybe if minimal work is needed, I’ll consider it

4. A 4 door (so the insurance is tolerable)

5. Preferably Manual, but I won’t mind an Auto

I’m looking at 2005-2006 Acura TLs and early 2000s 540i, but please search for anything that strikes a balance between cool/fast and reliable.

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Other questions:

1. Are E39 540s reliable? What problems should I look out for?

2. Can any mechanically well versed Oppos help me in inspecting a short-listed car or two (goes without saying, I’ll offer food and gas)? Or recommend a good indy shop to do a pre-purchase inspection?