The 296 GTB, an evolution of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined two-seater sports berlinetta concept, represents a revolution for the Maranello-based company as it introduces the new 120° V6 engine coupled with a plug-in (PHEV) electric motor capable of delivering up to 830 cv. The car thus defines the idea of driving fun to provide pure excitement not only when pursuing maximum performance but also in everyday driving.
The design of the 296 GTB redefines the identity of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined berlinetta, giving the car a compact, modern and original line. Its short wheelbase and monolithic appearance make it the most compact berlinetta from Maranello of the last decade. Having abandoned the typical fastback berlinetta layout, the Ferrari Style Centre focused on creating a cabin set within a powerful volume. This was the result of the short wheelbase and aspects such as muscular mudguards, a visor roof, flying buttresses and a brand new vertical rear screen.
The rear is dominated by a ring-shaped flying buttress that houses the engine compartment cover, developed on an unusual three-dimensional glass surface. The central part of the car stands out with a body-coloured element that represents a style theme dear to the Maranello marque. Another characteristic of the 296 GTB is the truncated tail that enhances its compactness. The tail incorporates a horizontal element that encloses lights and an integrated spoiler.
The 296 GTB breaks into the sports berlinetta segment with radical and innovative aerodynamic choices. The turbocharger in the “Vee” of the crankcase improves thermal management of the engine compartment and electrical components. This radical shift is also apparent in the reversal of Ferrari’s active aerodynamic paradigm of recent years: on the 296 GTB, an active device is not there to manage drag, but to generate additional downforce.
The dynamic development of the 296 GTB aimed to increase the car’s performance, provide class-leading driving fun, and improve the usability of its performance and hybrid layout. A range of new components has been developed, including the TMA actuator and 6w-CDS body sensor, plus features such as the first-ever ‘ABS evo’ controller and grip estimator integrated with the EPS.
Lateral: response to steering wheel controls, feeling of rear-end responsiveness, ease of driving
Longitudinal: rapidity and constancy of the throttle response curve
Shifting: shift times, feeling of ratio progression with each gear change
Braking: feel of the brake pedal in terms of travel and response (efficiency and modulation)
Sound: level and quality in the cabin and graduated rise in the engine sound as revs increase
The chassis has a 50 mm shorter wheelbase than previous mid-rear engine Ferrari berlinettas, which improves dynamic agility. Also noteworthy are the revamped brake-by-wire system and ‘Aero’ brake calliper, as well as SMC-FRS magnetorheological dampers.
The new ABS control module, which is integrated with the new 6w-CDS sensor, allows the grip limits of the rear tyres to be pushed still further, makes for greater repeatability of stopping distances and thus improving performance when turning into corners.
Meticulous attention was paid to reducing weight to ensure the car’s balance and delicacy of handling: la 296 GTB is class-leading in regards to the overall weight-to-power ratio: 1.77 kg/cv.
The usability of performance is critical on the 296 GTB. For example, electric driving in eDrive mode enables the car to reach a speed of 135 km/h without the aid of the internal combustion engine. In the Hybrid position, the internal combustion engine supports the electric motor only when higher performance is required. Stopping distances on dry surfaces have been significantly shortened by the new ‘ABS evo’ and its integration with the new 6w-CDS sensor, ensuring greater repeatability of the braking action.