It doesn't have to be expensive to own an "exotic car." They could simply be well designed, engineered and built. They could be as reliable as a Honda. Why is that option off the table?

Maybe because these cars are mainly bought by wealthy people who can afford to hire others to fix them and who can and will pay $$$$ in so doing. They are also limited-production cars. If Honda or Toyota built unreliable cars, it would cost them a fortune. They have to be more foolproof and idiot-proof. If I remember correctly, a friend of mine owned a Ferrari - maybe a 308 - and it needed a timing belt every 15K miles. The engine had to come out to install it. I think he said it cost him $3K. PS - he no longer owns the car.