Malibu, California – It’s 6:40 a.m. and the photo team isn’t due until 7. Twenty minutes to play. I arc the long, black hood off Pacific Coast Highway and onto the foot of a canyon road, the narrow tarmac ahead steep and sinuous and, in the hazy yawn of a seaside sunrise, all mine. A few turns to find a rhythm, feel out controls and conditions, and then, on a long uphill straight, my right foot goes down flat.
The next 20 minutes go by in 18.
The heart of the SC627 is a Callaway-designed, patent-pending supercharger that incorporates 2,300cc Eaton rotors. Key to the system is a proprietary three-element liquid-to-air intercooler that, Callaway says, makes for significantly cooler inlet-air temperatures than in competing systems. (Without mentioning names, Callaway is looking at you, Z06.) Additionally, because the high-volume supercharger extends right through an opening in the hood (no clear polycarbonate cover as on the Z06), Callaway claims additional conductive and convective cooling benefits.
Compared with the base Chevrolet Corvette C7 (without performance exhaust), output in the SC627 climbs 172 horsepower (to 627 at 6,400 rpm) and 150 lb-ft (to 610 at 4,400 rpm). Our test car also featured Callaway’s optional Sport exhaust ($2,890), ShortThrow seven-speed manual transmission ($530), and a set of gorgeous, nine-spoke black-chrome wheels ($3,890). So equipped, the SC627 ripped to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and flashed through the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds at 123.7 mph. Those are impressive figures, all right. Yet the last stock, seven-speed Z51 C7 we’ve tested wasn’t far behind, gunning to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and tripping the quarter-mile lights in 12.0 seconds at 118.4 mph. The Chevrolet Corvette Z06? Thanks to its additional brawn and meaty Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, it’s in a different realm entirely: 0 to 60 in just 3.2 seconds, the quarter in 11.3 seconds at 126.2 mph.
So, no, the SC627 isn’t “a Z06 for thousands less.” Indeed, go generous with the options and the price can climb fast. Before receiving the Callaway treatment our 2014 test car received such factory add-ons as a transparent roof, a multimode exhaust, and MyLink with navigation. Total as-tested price: $92,590 (an equivalent 2015-based car would cost $93,350). And, of course, the SC627 lacks such Z06 upgrades as a performance suspension, variable driving modes, carbon-fiber roof and hood, and available Brembo brakes.
What the SC627 delivers is its own unique flavor. It outguns the standard C7 while being sleeker and less flashy than the Z06 — a stealth rocket (that prominent blower up front notwithstanding). It sounds completely different than Chevy’s own supercharged ’Vette, too, blaring to the redline with a decidedly higher-pitched exhaust note and a seemingly more linear flow of power. (The Z06 switches from mild to wild in an instant.) And just as Callaway says, I drove the hell out of the car all day and never saw the various temperatures budge a whit above normal.
Callaway’s take on a short-throw shifter is unique, too. It’s short but not sweet; Chevy’s standard seven-speed lever is notably smoother. Play with it for a while, though, and you quickly grow accustomed to the notchy, quick-draw mechanism. It works, and it’s fun. Different. I can see some Callaway buyers preferring the feel of it to the more relaxed action of the standard Chevy tranny.
Ultimately, it’s those very dissimilarities that make the Callaway. The 2014 Callaway Corvette SC627 looks different, drives different, feels different. Speed of a different color, but refined and civilized just the same. For buyers seeking a Corvette apart from the rest, the SC627 offers a fast and tempting twist on the C7 formula.
2014 Callaway Corvette SC627 Specifications
|Price As Tested:||$92,590|
|Engine:||6.2L supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8/627 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 610 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Layout:||2-door, 2-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe|
|L x W x H:||176.9 x 77.1 x 48.6 in|
|0-60 mph:||3.6 sec|
|Quarter-Mile:||11.7 sec at 123.7 mph|