there are a couple of good sticky threads in the GTA lounge one is a buyers guide and the other is about the uprated brake conversion that some have had done either under warrenty or at a cost of around £1000.
Your price rage you are looking at 03-04 examples with average miles, if it does nothave the brake conversion dont worry about it too much as it obviously does not have a disc warping problem. Although it is an excellent upgrade, the original fitment are still very good especially if you are not planning on tracking the car, and you get to have a spare wheel ( all be it a spacesaver) only a can of tyre weld on uprated brake models
I would look for a standard example that has a good service history and should have had 2 belt changes by now 5-6 yrs old).
Not sure if they are all the same but mine does not use much oil, approx 1 or2 top ups of 1 ltr between changes.
Look out for squeaking and knocking from the suspension, again the average mile examples in your price range WILL need new upper and lower wishbones anti roll bar and drop links soon if they have not already been done. £500-700 at a good indipendant.
regarding the sound of the engine, all ican say is it should sound sublime, not a lot of help that but if ytou try and get to a meet you can check out a few for yourself
hope this helps