You pose an interesting question there Newbie528 --
"So, what's your theory now guys? Reason I ask is to see what's newer out there compared to the E39 within say, $15K range, with low miles, easy on gas (not a V8), but still holds and handles well, and doesn't lack the character of E39."
It's really unfair to compare a fairly priced e39 with any car that sells in the $15K range.
At that price point, I want reliability. You'd probably be looking at one of the high end Japanese sporty cars. I've seen the Acura NSX Selling for a little more than $15K-$20K perhaps something like that would fit the bill. A Lexus SC maybe. But my 528, even with the standard maintenence included over the next few years, would only be little more than half of $15K.
You know what would be cool.....there's a guy in Ocean County who does the Ferrari Kit Body over a Fiero frame.......why not just go all to helll with it !?!?