First place in my book: Volvo V70R

Though good examples with desirable options (manual transmission) can be pricey (see BaT auction results), they’re a bargain for what they are - if you can keep up with the maintenance for that 5 cylinder turbo awesomeness.

It’s worth noting that Raph is a sentient and English-writing Volvo V70R:

Also, the V60R is great too, but less wagony-goodness.

Second place in my book goes to the BMW E60 M54 and N52 engined sedans - specifically the RWD MT ones (thus the 2004-2010 525i, 528i, and 530i).

Without the crazy V10 and equally unreliable N54 and N62 engines, and no AWD system to increase maintenance and repair costs astronomically [see Footnote 1], they’re modern yet somewhat reliable sports sedans that were ahead of their time in style and technology.

The E60 offers refinement that the E90 doesn’t: way better seats, a factory spare under the trunk, a more comfortable ride, much larger trunk, much more space for the passengers, etc. - yet it is much more modern than and every bit as good of a driver’s car as the more popular E39 it replaced.

Kristen agrees with me:

And so does Raph:

And poster Aloha Milkyway:

Footnote 1: Contrast maintenance costs to my E61 535xi, which is now in the shop yet again, this time for something related to an underbody panel tearing off that has caused the entire AWD/DTC/DSC/ABS systems to stop working and an associated noise coming from around the transfer case. Of the approximately $15000 in maintenance I’ve had to do in the last 1.5 years, I’d estimate that about $10000 of that has been directly due to or increased in cost because of the N54 engine and AWD system.