Ah, Los Angeles: Where image rules, poolboys drive BMWs, and self-worth can hinge on the car you drive. It’s the kind of brand-conscious city where the Kia Stinger GT could face an uphill battle no matter how quickly it can climb into the surrounding canyons. But for enthusiasts who don’t give a damn about the Kia badge on the exterior—or those who are handy with a roll of duct tape—the Stinger GT is looking like the Underdog of the Year. As with various slope-roofed German sedans, the Stinger disguises a hatchback, but not its ambitions, whether in performance- or bargain price: that would be (a still-unofficial) $39,895 for a base Stinger GT, with its 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6; or $32,795 for the Stinger 2.0T and its 255-hp four with a single, twin-scroll turbo. If some four-legged, sled-dog traction is in order, add $2,200 for AWD on any model. The biggest takeaway? Unlike every previous attempt at high-performance from Kia or Hyundai—notably the disappointing Hyundai Genesis Coupe—the Stinger isn’t a mere statistic, with encouraging on-paper specs that you might as well crumple up on the street. Yes, the Hyundai Motor Group has soared in sales and showroom reputation based on value, design, and dramatically improved quality. Continue reading.