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Ferrari debuts hybrid-powered 296 GTB

New Ferrari 296 GTB V6 hybrid boasts V8-rivalling power and performance

28 Jun 2021

FERRARI has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by McLaren’s new Artura, debuting its own six-cylinder hybrid supercar in the form of the new 296 GTB ahead of first deliveries to Australia in the second half of next year.


Expected to sit alongside the F8 Tributo as the brand’s new entry-level mid-ship offering, the 296 GTB resembles a downsized SF90, albeit with the rear haunches of a last-generation Ford GT (supercar, not Falcon).


Not only is the 296 GTB the first V6 series production Ferrari – the early 1960s Dino never wore Prancing Horse branding – it is also the first time the company has produced a rear-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain as the flagship SF90 is all-wheel-drive.


Global deliveries of the 296 GTB will start early next year, with left-hand-drive markets such as Europe being given priority over right-hand-drive markets like Australia.


According to a Ferrari Australia spokesperson, this points to a local launch being held in the second half of 2022.


Lurking behind the cabin is an electrified and turbocharged 3.0-litre bent six developing a combined 610kW of power at 8000rpm and 740Nm of torque at a peaky 6250rpm.


Rather than simply lop two cylinders off the Portofino M’s turbocharged V8 and tickle up the result, Ferrari’s engineers insist the new mill has been designed and developed from a clean sheet of paper “specifically for this installation”.


Electric power comes courtesy of a single motor mounted between the internal combustion engine (ICE) and transmission, fed by a 7.45kWh lithium-ion battery that gifts the 296 an all-electric range of up to 25km.


The transmission in question is the same eight-speed dual-clutch automatic as seen elsewhere in the Ferrari portfolio, including on the SF90, Roma and Portofino M.


Ferrari claims the result is a 0-100km/h time of 2.9 seconds, 0-200km/h in 7.3 seconds and a top speed north of 330km/h.


In terms of brute force, the out-muscles the V8-powered F8 for sheer power (610kW vs 530kW) but falls some 30Nm shy on torque (740Nm vs 770Nm).


More importantly, both models drastically outshine the Artura (500kW/720Nm) in both respects, though the McLaren fights back against the 296 with a superior all-electric range (30km vs 25km).


Brake discs measuring 398x38mm up front and 360x32mm at the rear are clamped by calipers developed from those found on the SF90, which can haul the 296 up from 200km/h to a standstill in a claimed 107 metres.


More than just a rabid speed machine, Ferrari has been careful to ensure its new car can be used day-to-day and that the hybrid powertrain can be exploited for more than just outright performance.


In addition to the traditional Manettino drive mode selector, the 296 has been fitted with a new ‘eManettino’ system that gives drivers the choice of hybrid eDrive, Performance and Qualify modes.


Hybrid mode is the default setting, with propulsion duties ebbing and flowing between the ICE and electric motor as needed.


Essentially as it says on the label, eDrive mode relies solely on the battery and electric motor for motivation – the all-electric top speed is 135km/h.


Performance mode largely serves as the sports mode with the vast majority of the powertrain’s grunt on tap at a moment’s notice, however a small portion of the ICE’s power is reserved in the name of battery charge preservation.


Finally, qualify mode pulls no punches; every trace of power is sent to the back wheels for maximum performance.


As usual for Ferrari, form follows function with nearly every line, curve, inlet, vent and channel having some role to play in either the aerodynamics or cooling for the brakes and engine cooling, the latter being especially important given the 296 is fitted with two radiators.


An active rear spoiler can be raised and lowered both on command and automatically to match the driving environment and generate an extra 100kg of downforce.


To help the new car be as agile and dynamically capable as possible, the 296 rides on a wheelbase some 50mm shorter than previous mid-ship Ferraris – such as the F8 – which works in unison with newly developed electronics like the ‘Transition Manager Actuator’, six-way adjustable ‘Chassis Dynamic Sensor’ and ABS evo controller.


Suspension duties are taken care of by magnetorheological dampers in all four corners.


Inside the cabin, designers have emulated the ‘entirely digital interface’ concept debuted on the SF90, meaning its smaller stablemate scores a virtual cockpit and haptic touch controls for the climate settings, with all other controls are mounted on the steering wheel.


“While with the SF90 Stradale the designers wanted to highlight the presence of the advanced technology and underscore a clear break with the past, in the case of the 296 GTB, the idea was to clothe that technology in a sophisticated way,” a Ferrari spokesperson said.


Luxury-minded highlights included leather appointed upholstery, speedo and tachometer display for the passenger, head-up display and electric push-button door openers.


For those wanting even more performance and exclusivity form their vehicles, an Assetto Fiorano package is available that adds GT racing-derived adjustable Multimatic shock absorbers, aggressive carbon fibre aero features, a Lexan rear screen and more extensive use of lightweight materials such as carbon-fibre both for the body and cabin.


The pack is claimed to shave more than 37kg from the 296 GTB’s 1470kg dry weight.

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