If you want fun performance for under $30k why not a WRX?
I've had a few Subaru's and they were all really solid cars. The WRX was one of the most fun cars to drive. A lot of potential there for modding as well if you want to make it handle better or improve acceleration.
I know some people don't like the new styling but it's starting to grow on me.
I really liked my MKIV Gti as well but was frequently frustrated with the front wheel drive and the wheel hop after I chipped it. Definitely nicer inside than the Subaru but not as easy to drive aggressively.