Your modern muscle is really only going to get you to a nice spot in a straight line. That being said, I've driven the Genesis Coupe, Focus ST, and GTI (all in manual sans the GTI).
If you like the GTI try out the Focus ST, that thing is a beast and I loved driving it, and it will fit your budget. If you want to step it up a bit more, you can go with a Focus RS. One downfall is that it is a lil boy-racer looking. If that doesn't bug you that's a great start. Plus there's lots of room out back for the family and for some cargo.
If you like being low down and don't mind the family to be squished in the back the Genesis coupe is a great vehicle. It comes with a great 10yr/100,000 powertrain warranty, the transmission isn't terrible, not as nice as the Fords. It's sporty, and fast for it's own right and can be specced out to be had any way you want pretty much with each range hitting a different niche.
The WRX is nice however I think it's a bit overpriced, but has a great powertrain and AWD system. It also has a bit of a boy racer look but it will have space for the family and cargo.
However I really highly suggest the ST/RS Focus, and or if you want something a little bit smaller a Fiest ST. But I think you should consider the ST/RS Focus'.