For the genuine automotive enthusiast, driving is much more than a way to travel from point A to point B: getting behind the wheel should be an experience in and of itself.
This is the defining principle behind Italian supercar builder Ferrari’s latest high-powered production model, the 296 GTB. Boasting a best-in-class 830 horsepower from its all-new hybrid 2.9L V6 powertrain, the groundbreaking model is the first six-cylinder to display the iconic Prancing Horse badge and pays homage to the Dino and 250 Le Mans models of yesteryear. With a strikingly bold exterior and record-setting performance, the Ferrari 296 GTB offers a unique snapshot of the inevitable industry shift toward plug-in power.
The rear-wheel drive compact supercar boasts next-level hypercar performance, thanks in part to its cutting-edge technical enhancements and unique engine profile. The 296 GTB’s 120° vee engine configuration, affectionately dubbed the “piccolo V12”, breaks new barriers by cleverly integrating two turbochargers within the motor’s vee for significant improvements in power, heat management, and weight optimization. The result is a record-setting 663 horsepower from the vehicle’s V6 Internal Combustion Engine, and an additional 167 horsepower from the rear-mounted plug-in (PHEV) electric motor. Offering zero-to-sixty in under three seconds and a top speed of 205 miles per hour, the previously unimaginable combined power output places the 296 GTB at the top of the rear-wheel-drive sports car segment and marks a new era for the famed Italian marque.
Inheriting lessons from Ferrari’s revered Formula One team, the 296 GTB’s electric motor features MGU-K technology to help charge the 7.45 KwH high voltage battery while also incorporating a shorter wheelbase. The battery system provides up to 15 miles of electric-only range in eDrive mode and has been meticulously engineered to help the dual-clutch transmission deliver near immediate inputs from the 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Aerodynamics play an integral role in the 296 GTB’s overall performance as well, with a LaFerrari-inspired active rear spoiler and optimized airflow to its multiple radiators and brake cooling system. The model’s signature “tea-tray” aero device has been cleverly integrated within the front bumper to seamlessly manage airflow beneath the vehicle before exiting through the carbon fiber rear diffuser. Together with strategic aerodynamic enhancements to the sides, roof line, and engine bay, the 296 GTB’s streamlined design allows the vehicle to stick to the road without adding eccentric edges to its smooth curves.
To meet the acoustic expectations of a Ferrari, special attention was given to the supercar’s exhaust system by leveraging its unique 120° “hot-V” design to recreate the high-frequency sounds of a V12. Revving up to 8,500 RPMS, the 296 GTB is undoubtedly one of the best sounding six-cylinder models ever created. Inside the immaculate cabin, extensive use of carbon fiber perfectly complements the gorgeous Italian leather trim and colorful accents.
From the driver’s seat, Ferrari continues its idea of an entirely digital interface with a new touch-sensitive steering wheel and vehicle control system first introduced on the SF90 Stradale. Along with a traditional Ferrari Manettino, an integrated eManettino gives way to eDrive, Hybrid, Performance, and Qualify drive modes. Defaulting to Hybrid at start-up, the 296 GTB delivers impressive fuel efficiency as a daily driver, and when you’d rather not disturb your neighbors, the eDrive setting lets you come and go quietly.
Naturally, we spent most of our time with the supercar in Performance or Qualify mode, with each offering incredible on-demand power and the handling you would expect from the famed Maranello manufacturer. Even with 800+ horsepower surging to the rear wheels, the Ferrari 296 GTB managed to tame the thoroughbred’s wild instinct into a perfectly balanced and easy to drive supercar worthy of taking to both the racetrack and the office.