Less than a decade ago, envisioning a Ferrari with an electric engine silently cruising down the motorway would have seemed implausible. However, the all-new Ferrari 296 GTS defies expectations, effortlessly combining a powerful 830 bhp engine with serene silence. It glides with the grace of a horse’s gait or prances boldly, as only a Ferrari can.
The Ferrari 296 comes in two versions: the GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta), a hardtop model, and the GTS (Gran Turismo Spider), featuring a retractable hardtop. Economy Middle East had the opportunity to test the 296 GTS, the first-ever Ferrari Spider with rear-wheel drive and a Plug-in Hybrid engine. This engineering marvel exemplifies the future of the automotive industry. The skilled engineers at Maranello have skillfully blended internal combustion and plug-in hybrid technologies to preserve the essence of a true supercar while embracing a V6 engine. Some enthusiasts argue that this achievement places the 296 GTS among the most thrilling cars of the decade.
Undoubtedly, the 296 GTS will be remembered as a pioneering icon. Throughout its illustrious 76-year history, the revered Italian marque chose to reserve the Ferrari badge for its larger engines, designating the smaller six-cylinder engines with the esteemed “Dino” emblem. These sports cars, named after founder Enzo Ferrari’s son, were manufactured by Ferrari from 1957 to 1976, spanning almost two decades. Proudly featuring the first-ever V6 engine in a production Ferrari Spider, the 296 GTS pays homage to this legacy while propelling the brand into the future.
The Engine and Performance
The 296 GTS features a turbocharged internal combustion, 3-litre V6 engine, elegantly combined with a plug-in hybrid system. The petrol engine generates an impressive 663 bhp, while the plug-in hybrid contributes an additional 167 bhp. Together, they deliver a staggering total of 830 bhp, producing a symphonic sound reminiscent of a mighty V12. With such power, the 296 GTS firmly establishes itself in the realm of supercar royalty.
This exceptional vehicle incorporates advanced technologies to effectively distribute power at the right moments. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels through the exceptional automatic 8-speed dual-clutch F1 DCT transmission. The car offers four drive modes: eDrive, Hybrid, Performance, and Qualify. These modes can be conveniently controlled through the innovative e-manettino located on the left side of the steering wheel, while the traditional analog manettino retains its position and function on the right.
When it comes to performance, the 296 GTS is truly breathtaking. It reaches an impressive top speed of 330 km/h. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in just 2.9 seconds, and it can reach 0 to 200 km/h in a mere 7.6 seconds.
The version we had the pleasure of driving was equipped with the Assetto Fiorano package. This package includes Multimac shock absorbers optimized for track performance, high downforce carbon fiber appendages on the front bumper, a lightweight Lexan rear screen, and extensive use of lightweight carbon fiber materials both inside and outside the vehicle.
The Interior and Exterior
We were first introduced to Ferrari’s digital interior design language in the beautifully appointed Roma. Now, with the 296 GTS, they have taken it to the next level, incorporating hints of the SF90. The gauge cluster boasts a fully digital interface, offering excellent visibility and easy navigation. Gone are the center console and separate infotainment system, as all functions are seamlessly integrated into the digital gauge cluster. Overall, the interior is sleek and uncluttered, with a minimal number of buttons. The air conditioning controls and the retro styled shifter, reminiscent of the gated manual Ferrari gearboxes, are the only buttons present. The passenger side also features a digital screen capable of displaying various information, including G-force measurements.
While the luxurious leather seats are undeniably sporty, they may prove to be somewhat snug for individuals taller than 1.85 cm. Additionally, some users have reported minor squeaking from the seats when the car encounters bumps on the road.
Moving on to the exterior, the 296 GTS exudes a sporty, sleek, and elegant appearance, showcasing the best of all worlds when the roof is deployed. Our particular car was equipped with the Assetto Fiorano package, emphasizing its track-focused nature, which is also reflected in the redesigned elements such as the door panels and the LaFerrari-inspired active rear bumper. Furthermore, buyers have the opportunity to choose from a range of unique bespoke color options.
When the roof is retracted inside the engine compartment, the 296 GTS captivates onlookers with its impressive open-top styling, making it an absolute joy to drive whether you’re conquering the mountain roads of Segesta in Sicily or cruising down the E311 to Fujairah.
The Ferrari 296GTB is an extraordinary paradigm-shifter, representing an iconic masterpiece of mechanical excellence, seamlessly blending internal combustion and hybrid technologies into a remarkable fusion. With the aid of cutting-edge advancements, this vehicle is poised to etch its name in the annals of history as the V6 that exudes supercar performance with unparalleled precision.
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