Ferrari’s electric revolution continues with the hybridised Ferrari 296 GTB, packing a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 and an electric motor for a total of 830PS (610kW) at 8,000rpm and 740Nm (548lb ft) at 6,250rpm.
Ferrari had their work cut out in maintaining their reputation as engine masters and producing something to indirectly succeed that V8. The new V6 could go the distance, revving to 8,500rpm and adding 663PS (488kW) to the power mix. It’s supposed to sound good too, with Ferrari engineers supposedly referring to it as the “little V12” in development.
No, it’s not related to Maserati’s ‘Nettuno’ engine from the MC20 and upcoming GranTurismo. It’s made of different alloys, set to a different V-angle and doesn’t feature the pre-combustion technology of the Maseratis.
The electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission adds the remaining power in what we expect will be a ‘torque fill’ style. Yes, the engine can be switched off for 16 miles of electric-only driving. All power goes to the wheels via Ferrari’s new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The hard figures? The 296 GTB will get to 62mph in 2.9 seconds, on the way to a 204mph top speed.
Where the 296 GTB differs from the Maserati MC20 and McLaren Artura, is the fact that it remains an alloy construction, rather than making the switch to a carbon tub. Quite how related this underpinning is to that of the F8, which first saw service in the 458 of 2009 is unclear. We suspect this, like the SF90, takes a big leap forward in order to accommodate electrification. At 1,470kg dry, it weighs just 35kg more than the F8. Impressive for a hybrid. It’s also a fraction shorter than the F8, both in overall length and wheelbase.
As for the looks? In parts, it’s a continuation of the more minimalist styling Ferrari has been pursuing recently. There are also definite callbacks to legends of old, like the 250 LM. In others, there’s a revolution afoot. The marque seems determined to ditch its traditional quad- and double-tip circular exhausts in favour of unconventional shapes. The 296’s outlet could almost be borrowed from a Koenigsegg or even the Czinger 21C.
In terms of aerodynamics, there’s a LaFerrari-style integrated active rear wing that increases downforce compared to its predecessors. This is the first active element of its type in this segment for Ferrari. The Assetto Fiorano package makes for a total of 360kg of downforce at 155mph from that wing, though that adds another £28,000 to the list price.
Some will have recognised the very evocative more traditional flying buttresses and the development of Ferrari’s windowed engine compartment. Upfront, it’s very sleek and subtle, though the lights and surrounding vents share a curious relationship. All in, it’s a sexy and exotic silhouette and from Ferrari we expect nothing less.
On the inside, the jutting angles and jarring shapes of the last decade of mid-engined Ferraris are well and truly gone. In their place, harmonious symmetry. The 296 as you’ll have guessed, gets Ferrari’s updated cabin architecture, including a fully digital dash and new wheel with haptic controls.
So, Ferrari’s first V6 in just under five decades. It’s a hybrid, it’s a class up from McLaren and Maserati’s efforts and it’s going to cost from around £231,000 when deliveries begin early next year. Do you like the sound of the 296 GTB, or will you be picking up a last-of-line F8 Tributo instead?