Punch the start button and the big 6.0-litre V8 detonates with a breathy, deep-chested whoom. Mounted on top of the Corvette motor is the highly polished Eaton/Magnuson three-lobe supercharger attached to Callaway’s ‘Honker’ air intake system.
While Callaway’s standard supercharger package adds 160 ponies to the stock 400bhp C6 ’Vette LS2 V8, an additional 56bhp is extracted for the C16 through ported heads, bigger valves, new rocker arms and pushrods and a reprofiled cam.
Floor the right pedal and all of this translates into the kind of eyeball-compressing performance only Bugatti Veyron and Lamborghini Murciélago drivers get to experience.
Disengage the traction control and you can deposit long, black lines of fricasséd rubber on the road in first, second and third gears. Disengage stability control and you can tail-slide like a drift champ.
And the noise alone will spike your heart rate by 50 bpm. Imagine a dentist’s drill played through the speakers at a Bon Jovi concert and you get some idea of the sound of Callaway’s new C16 supercar as its supercharged V8 reaches its full aural crescendo.
As daily transportation, the C16 displays none of the tantrums usually associated with supercars. With 582lb ft of torque, the V8 pulls from walking pace in fourth. The clutch is light, the action of the
six-speed manual hefty but precise.
You'll need a race track to come anywhere close to the car’s handling limits. Even when pushing hard on back roads, the car’s 285/30 ZR19 front and 325/25 ZR20 rear Yokohama rubber sticks to the blacktop, while the Callaway-developed suspension (which uses adjustable Eibach dampers) eradicates almost all body roll. Only the sheer size of the car (it’s almost two metres wide) makes the C16 feel unwieldy on narrow roads.
Should I buy one?
Hand-built supercars never come cheap. Although the C16 has a base price in the US of $116,675, our loaded C16 test car would set you back $192,180. Or roughly the price of a Ferrari F430. In Germany, where Callaway will build C16s for Europe (sadly no right-hand drive), it will start at €100,000 (£67,500); consider the performance and exclusivity that buys you and it still looks cheap.
That's because, unlike the F430 that is made in its thousands, only 150 C16s will be built per year, split between coupé, newly-announced convertible and an upcoming Speedster.
That makes it about the most exclusive Corvette you can buy, as well as the most rapid, and a must if you want to upstage your Z06-owning neighbour.