I recently spent some time driving the new Callaway SC757 Z06 AeroWagen, a modern interpretation on a classic “shooting brake” on a C7 Corvette Z06 body. This is the same company car that’s been making its way across the country on an epic media tour. I’m sure many of you have already seen the “pro” reviews but I am far from a professional automotive journalist, so allow me to offer my “average car guy’s” take on the car.
The AeroWagen Package
The “regular” C7 Corvette essentially functions like a mini-hatchback and has impressive utility for its class. Callaway Cars applies some clever engineering and design chops to elevate the C7 Corvette’s basic hatch function into something that both enhances the car’s utility and transforms the look of the car. Sadly, the pictures do not do the car justice.
While the AeroWagen is admittedly somewhat of a “love-it-or-hate-it” design, I was blown away by the level of fit and finish and how Callaway’s team integrated the AeroWagen’s additional rear hatch section into the existing bodywork. Up close, it looks like an OEM job, with the trim pieces, paint, and carbon fiber detail perfectly matched and aligned. I couldn’t find any signs of uneven seams or places where quality-control was overlooked.
Aside from the AeroWagen conversion, I found the overall presentation of the car to be stunning in person. From the classic Callaway “Double-D” rear exhaust to the Callaway wheel package and massive supercharger peaking through the front hood, the car had a menacing road presence from just about any angle. Add on the fact that you get an additional 6 or so cubic-feed of cargo space and you now have a surprising amount of utility with supercar levels of performance.
What’s The AeroWagen Like To Drive?
Around this time last year, I had the opportunity to sample the same 757 well-fed horses in a Callaway C7 Z06 SC757 sans AeroWagen package. I’m happy to report that it felt every bit as ludicrously fast as the last Callaway Z06 I drove.
Using a larger, Callaway designed Eaton TVS 2.3 liter blower with triple water-to-air heat exchangers, you’ll hit 0-60mph in a scant 2.7 seconds. If you keep your foot in it, the quarter-mile will pass by in 10.5 seconds at 131 mph…on street-tires nonetheless! To put that performance into perspective, this car is so fast that on some drag strips, you could get banned since the car is too fast to run without a safety roll-cage. If you haven’t experienced full-throttle acceleration from a relatively light sports car with a low center-of-gravity rocking a 750+ hp large-displacement V8, then you’re in for a rude awakening. It’s scary, ruthless, warp-speed fast to the point that your brain has a hard time keeping up with the rate at which you’re accelerating. You literally cannot summon the car’s maximum thrust for more than a few seconds at a time otherwise you’ll be deep in jail-time speeds.
In-Car Driving Footage
For context, I was driving with a passenger on some twisty back roads (A/C and seat chillers on full blast) and the longest application of wide-open-throttle was perhaps one or two seconds before the fear of death made me lift-off and summon those massive Brembo carbon ceramic brakes. With traction control turned off and the car in track-mode, I was able to light-up the massive Michelin Pilot Sport tires in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with ease thanks to 777 lb-ft of torque which felt accessible at any RPM regardless of what gear you’re in.
Handling-wise, the car was rock steady as one might expect with the latest generation Z06. The initial turn-in felt very stable and direct despite the electric power assisted steering rack. The adjustable magnetic ride shocks did a great job keeping the car composed over bumpy surfaces. I could see how this car could be a comfortable place to be on a long drive. In fact, the car just got back from Kentucky with no issues. More impressive was the lack of any rattles from inside the cabin as one might expect from a car that’s been modified from stock and driven hard by various media outlets.
That said, the one and only glaring flaw I could find was the 8-speed GM-sourced “8L90” automatic transmission. While I fully admit I drink from the “haus of maunal” water cooler, I can appreciate a good automatic transmission for when lap times and outright speed are key. However, when I put this car in its highest-performance setting (Track) and I ask for an upshift, instead of a quick response, there was a nearly 2-second delay between shifts. That’s 2 seconds where you’re accelerating at full romp, then nothing for….one one-thousand…two one-thousand…and then shift. While the shifts do feel noticeably faster under hard acceleration, it’s still not as crisp as a comparable dual-clutch automatic.
I didn’t have much time to experiment with all of the different settings, so I’ll give the car the benefit of the doubt, but the automatic definitely took out some fun from the driving experience. Unless you’re a leg amputee or using this car in heavy traffic, I’d always recommend getting the manual.
Should I Buy One?
This car, as tested, retails for around $140k which includes the $18,495 SC757 upgrade that bumps power to 757hp and torque to 777 lb-ft and comes with a full 3 year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty. Also included is the $14,990 AeroWagen conversion, the $6,400 Callaway forged wheels, and the $2,990 Callaway Sport Exhaust. Sure, it’s a big jump in cost compared to a run-of-the-mill “base” C7 Z06, but you get OEM-like build-quality, breathtaking performance, and a warranty for worry-free enjoyment.
Just for fun, if you were cross-shopping the Callaway AeroWagen, or even standard SC757 Z06 to other cars in this performance bracket, you’d be looking at spending at least 2-3x the cost to get into something offering comparable performance (e.g., a McLaren 675lt or Lamborghini Aventador) and that’s where the true value proposition lies.
While no Corvette, regardless how special it is, will ever carry the romance and cachet of a Ferrari, McLaren, or Lamborghini, the Callaway Aerowagen delivers supercar-levels of performance at 1/3 the cost without any of the usual drama. That’s why I’d give this one a solid 5/5 stars for value. Just make sure you order up the 7-speed manual gearbox.