Frog, I dont know if anyone has suggested this yet, but have you considered an e36 m3? I have one that I inherited from my brother, and I absolutely love the feeling of driving it (you will feel a lot of connection between your car and the road, if that makes sense at all). So far having it for a year, ive spent 2k+ on maintenance stuffs (cooling system (very vital), and misc stuff like battery & alternator. IMO if you are pretty handy at DIY on your car you would be spending much less.
Consider getting a sedan e36 m3 (1997-1999 i think), good condition for around $10-12k. Gas mileage is about city 15mpg /highway 25 mpg.
Also, the looks of an e36 m3 does not look too flashy, but rather timeless and masculine imo. See sig
EDIT: Just to add on, remember that 5k-7k e36 m3 are available too, but you get what you paid for. Expect to shell out the extra couple thousands you thought you 'saved' to get it back in good shape.