One of the tires appears to have a screw in it, and they are mismatched (some original, some not), that would be a potential red flag for me. Either someone being miserly with the car, or having very little of a clue about taking care of it.
That said, it has fairly low miles, and appears to be quite clean. However, the price is also considerably lower than I'd expect for that year/miles, which may indicate issues.
Certainly do a full PPI, and a good service history would go a long way to establishing the car's overall shape.
On the upshot, the 00+ cars had virtually all of the "issues" fixed, and had the very awesome AP brakes, so if it's in good shape it would be a hell of a deal.
As to running costs, if the car is in good shape, they're considerably less than most exotics. Many of the parts are GM or Delco and can be had easily and relatively cheaply. Some of the gotchas are that many of the "GM" parts are european market only from various Vauxhall cars, and hence finding comparable parts stateside (versus ordering them through lotus for 3-4x the cost) can be interesting.
For a ballpark figure on a well-maintained car, I would toss out around $1,500-2,000/yr to keep it happy. More, of course, to replace things that have issues.
One thing you should factor into your thinking is replacing the radiator with a good aluminum unit. The stock rad is an unimaginable piece of crap.
Another is that these cars are inherently difficult to get through emissions testing, with o2 and evap system codes being quite common. If you live in a state with a smog gestapo, it might not be the best choice.
A few things to check:
- A/C and heater. Make sure they both work well. Also open the front hood and verify that the air recirculation flap works as it should. If it doesn't the motor could be toast, or as is more common, the motor arm broke. (Easy fix, PITA to get at)
- Central locking, make sure the fob locks and unlocks both doors.
- Scan for OBD codes. Any o2 or Evap codes, as noted, could be problematic.
- If possible during the PPI, have all four wheels inspected for roundness. They're very easy to bend on the inner rim.
- Check that the gearbox shifts smoothly. A slow or grindy 1-2 shift is an indication of worn synchros. If the gearbox oil has been changed, per the service history, on a 20k car, that would be a good indication of someone taking good care of it.
- Check that the car brakes in a straight line with no wheel pull.
- Check the dash leather around the passenger airbag, it can shrink. Not the end of the world, but good for knocking a few bucks off from the dealer.
- Check that the gas door solenoid works, the button is hidden behind the shifter.
- Check for transmission oil leaks, especially around the rear CV joints.
- Check the coolant header tank for any discoloration or cracking, this can indicate head gasket or cylinder sleeve issues.
- If possible during the PPI, have the mechanic (or yourself) take a look at the exhaust manifold studs/nuts. They can sometimes work loose and cause an exhaust leak (evident by black soot around the loose bolt and a ticking sound when running)
- Check that the car runs reasonably cool. It should read between "80" and the mark between 80 and 100 in virtually all cases.
- Check that there's no fuel odor in the cabin while driving, this can indicate a leaking fuel tank crossover hose.