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I <3 Porsche. I would love to own one. But even if I was gifted an '06 Boxster/Cayman I would put it immediately up for sale.

It pains me to say, as in my heart I see it as a very glorified Golf/Bug but the TT if I was looking for small, fun and luxury in the price range and year range.

The other no brainer in my mind is a Corvette. You get, for the class, a pretty crappy interior (the steering wheel is shameful for starters) but the LS2 engine and the 6-speed in either configuration is an reliable as the sunrise, GOBS and GOBS and GOBS of torque, cheap and easy to maintain, repair and modify, a list of aftermarket providers and shops a mile long, and a very civilized daily drive that is also a blast on the track. The downside as noted is the Playskool interior and the stigma of a balding midlife crisis car. Given the C7 is on the brink of coming out an '06 or '07 model with low miles owned by said above balding old dude that truly babied it could probably be had for a very reasonable price. Given the mid-engine Corvette remains as mythical as a unicorn, I see little stigma in driving a C6. The C6 is down to 911 in size (surprise).

Nothing else really comes to mind. Sadly in the original price of say $45K to $65K and made in the mid 00's the list of what is fun and reliable in the used market is really, really short.

I wouldn't touch a used M3 from this period.

The C-Series Benz from this era was a steaming pile of endless problems with a GM grade interior.

I wouldn't touch the above mentioned Porsche.

Lexus wasn't making anything really "exciting."

The Cadillac CTS-V wasn't in its current incarnation but did exist with an LS2 engine. You can get those on the crazy cheap, but their rear differentials are made out of paper and chewing gum and hard to find one now of that era that wasn't hooned.

The STS-V is a rear bird but based on a God awful architecture.

The first year GT-R is infamous for self-destruction transmissions (first red flag should be if you use launch control for a full on throttle to the floor sprint, you void the warranty - so why provide launch control???).

Infiniti has some excitement but nothing that I would put in the same league as Porsche landing.

A Lotus Elise would be worth looking at, if you can fit in it. They are not practical for much more than commuting or the track.

The Audi TT isn't exactly the model of reliability from this era, but about as good as you're going to get from Germany in this time period.

The more I think about:

Lotus Elise
Chevrolet Corvette
Audi TT

In that order. If it were my money and I was smaller. The reality is I can't fit in a Lotus Elise (I'm 6'1") so it would be Corvette and then TT.

Full disclosure - I have a big soft spot for Audi
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