May I present to you the fourth-gen (BP/BL) Subaru Legacy GT.

Above is a post facelifted 2008 model but the 2005-2007 cars were great as well. It was essentially a grown-up version of the Impreza slotting in between the WRX and STi in terms of performance and was pretty much the only non-FWD sport sedan on the market that wasn’t from a luxury brand. Performance-wise, it was great out of the box and because it shares many parts with its Impreza and Forrester brethren, there are tons of aftermarket parts and performance modifications. While the exterior was stylish but uneventful, the interior was tasteful and felt premium compared to other economy cars of the time. And you could get it with a manual, as a wagon (pre-facelifted models from 2005-2007), or as the Spec.B, a higher spec version with a front LSD, great 6MT transmission, bilstein shocks, and other upgrades.

New, these things were a performance bargain coming in the mid $20s to the mid $30s (a Spec.B topped out at $38K, I think) and now you can find plenty of good examples in the $5K to $10K range although expect to pay a bit more for a Spec.B.

I had a 2005 GT and a 2008 Spec.B, the latter was modified for the track and could go head-to-head with stock M3s and non S 911s of the same vintage. I regret selling my Spec.B back in 2013 and may even try to get my hands on another now that I have a garage and some spare cash.