Hey Oppo, I had been planning to buy a car sometime in 2018 in the $40k range. I have been driving a beater car for quite a few years now ensuring that the wife and kids had the safe, reliable transportation they needed so my wife has been totally on board with getting something awesome. Don’t hate me but I really wanted to buy a Panamera from Carmax. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way you want them to and earlier this week someone felt the need to smash my DD to bits.

Fine, this just means I have to buy something a little sooner than I planned, at a slightly lower price than I planned. I figured I could easily swing $15k-$20k so I started looking up e46 M3s and e39 M5s. Yea, too simple. The wife wants me in something newer. Like no more than 10 years old newer. For this concession, she let me bump the price point up a bit. I have some requirements as well and all of a sudden the breadth of cars I was looking for has significantly shrunk. Here’s hoping you can all pitch in some ideas and help.

The Good:

$20k-$25k range

Must be a car (no trucks, SUVs, CUVs, etc.)

Something Fast

Must have 4 seats, but doesn’t need 4 doors (though not a problem, I’m a wagon fan)


Manual is good, DCT is good, auto is bad

I’m not scared of “high maintenance” cars. I drive my DD less than 3k mi a year and have no problem doing all the work on my cars. I’m also in CA so rust and such are usually non-existent.


The Bad:

Must be less than 10 years old

No more small cars (I’ve driven them for 15 years, this last accident had my knees, thighs and feet bruised up because I’m tall and they aren’t). Midsize preferred and some higher safety ratings would be great.


No FCA or GM products please.

I’ve looked at everything from e90 M3s to Jag XFRs. Nothing is out of line if it meets the above requirements. Lay it on me Oppo. Hopefully there are some gems in that range that I haven’t thought of. Bonus points if you own or have owned the suggestion.