Comparing used cars to used airplanes isn’t really fair. Cars have to drive over pavement that beats them to death. Airplanes fly through smooth air. Airplanes get constant inspections, and any corrosion is removed before it does anything. Cars drive through salted roads. And cars are generally much, much more complex.
If you want a nice coupe, and find the 350Z a little less than useful or too extreme, have a look at an Infiniti G35. This is basically a ‘luxury’ 350Z, built on the same chassis, using the same motor, but with a back seat and upscale Infiniti appointments. They’re getting fantastic reviews.
And, while not a coupe, if you’re looking for a $30,000-ish performance car, you really shouldn’t overlook the Subaru Impreza STi or the Mitsubishi Evo. Both of them have four doors, but are the highest performance cars of all mentioned so far. They’ll both happily run with Audis and BMW’s almost twice their price.
Speaking of Audi and BMW… If I were in the market right now, I’d give some serious consideration to a slightly used Audi S4 or a BMW M3. Get a 3 year old M3 coupe, and you’ll have a fantastic car. And because you’re buying used and BMW’s tend to hold their value better than other cars, this is a MUCH cheaper option than buying new.