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The New Ferrari 296 GTB: Fun To Drive

The New Ferrari 296 GTB: Fun to drive

The Ferrari 296 GTB’s massive 818hp (610kW) combined output, produced by its new 654hp (488kW) 120-degree V6 internal combustion engine coupled with an electric motor, delivers a driving experience that is the definition of “fun to drive”. 

Side View of Ferrari 296 GTB

The 296 GTB rockets off the line to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.9 seconds (matching the F8) and hits 200 km/h in 7.3 seconds (0.5s quicker than F8). Hold your foot down and you will do more than 205 mph (330 km/h).

The Prancing Horse’s latest mid-rear-engined two-seater berlinetta evokes pure emotions. From the exhilarating soundtrack and incredible power to its compactness and agility, sheer driving pleasure awaits. Whether you are pushing the car to its limits or driving around town, expect to experience driving fun.

The Ferrari 296 GTB Powertrain

The unprecedented 120-degree “vee” configuration features equally-spaced combustion and turbocharging inside the “vee”, offering more space between the cylinder banks than a 90-degree “vee”.  The turbos could be installed centrally, reducing the overall size and the distance to the combustion chamber.  This, in turn, maximises the fluid dynamics and efficiency of the intake and exhaust line ducts.  This configuration also increases its compactness, lowers its centre of gravity, reduces its mass. All this helps it achieve 218 hp per litre specific torque output, a record for a production car.

The internal combustion engine couples with a rear-wheel-drive plug-in rear electric motor, a first for a Ferrari road car. The two power units communicate through the new TMA actuator.  You can use them together for maximum power or enjoy the 25km range of the all-electric eDrive mode.  Either way, the instant throttle response makes for a lively, entertaining drive.

Vehicle Dynamics

Ferrari 296 GTB's front view

The dynamic development of the Ferrari 296 GTB was all about increasing performance to provide class-leading driving fun.  What, you may ask, defines “fun to drive”?  Ferrari concentrated their efforts on these specific areas:

  1. Lateral:  response to steering controls, rear-end responsiveness and ease of driving.
  2. Longitudinal:  rapidity and constancy of the throttle response curve.
  3. Shifting:  shift times and the feeling of ratio progression with each gear change.
  4. Braking: the feel of the brake pedal in terms of travel and response – efficiency and modulation.
  5. Sound:  level and quality in the cabin and graduated rise in the engine sound as revs increase.

Agility

Behind the wheel of the 296 GTB

The chassis has a 50mm shorter wheelbase than previous mid-rear-engined Ferrari berlinettas, improving dynamic agility.  Ferrari paid meticulous attention to reducing weight to ensure the car’s balance and delicacy of handling. The result is a dry weight of just 1470kg, which is class-leading regarding the overall weight-to-power ratio: 1.8kg/hp.

The Chassis Dynamic Selector (6w-CDS) measures both the acceleration and rotation speed on three axes (X, Y, Z). This enables the other vehicle dynamic controls to read the car’s dynamic behaviour more accurately, thus optimising their intervention.

Rapidity

The transition between electric and hybrid modes is fundamental to the sports car characteristics of the Ferrari 296 GTB. This is why a power management selector (eManettino) has been adopted alongside the traditional Manettino. The eManettino has four positions: eDrive, Hybrid, Performance, and Qualify.

Shifting

The 818hp, 740nm of torque is sent to the rear wheels through the eight-speed F1 DCT, the same one used in the SF90, Portofino and Roma.

Braking

Other solutions that enhance the car’s handling and performance include the brake-by-wire system, the ‘Aero’ brake callipers from the SF90, electric power steering, the rear active aero device and SCM-Frs magnetorheological dampers.

The ‘ABS evo’ control module integrates with the new 6w-CDS sensor, further pushing the grip limits of the rear tyres. This also significantly shortens stopping distances on dry surfaces.

The Sound

Of course, the signature Ferrari sound is integral to the driving experience and here, again, the 296 GTB delights.  This car rewrites the rules by harmoniously combining two characteristics that are normally diametrically opposed: the force of the turbos and the harmony of the high-frequency notes of a naturally aspirated V12. Even at low revs, inside the cabin, the soundtrack features the pure V12 orders of harmonics which then, at higher revs, guarantee that typical high-frequency treble. The limiter hits an impressive 8500rpm, further helping this Ferrari’s soundtrack to match its performance.

Design

Exterior design

According to Ferrari, the GTB’s design aimed to “redefine the identity of the mid-rear-engined two-seater berlinetta by giving it an extremely compact, modern, original line.”

Smaller in every direction than the F8, the 296 sports an entirely new look that abandons the old berlinetta fastback style.

Some say there are references to old Ferraris (the 250LM inspired the B-pillar and the Kamm tail), limited edition Ferraris (the wraparound front screen like a J50) and newer models like the SF90 in the front end.

Rear view

Notable details include a single centre-exit exhaust, muscular mudguards, flying buttresses, a LaFerrari-style active spoiler, a visor roof and a vertical rear screen.

Interior

Interior styling of the Ferrari 296 GTB

Within the 296 GTB, the cockpit reflects the new concept of an entirely digital interface which Ferrari first debuted on the SF90 Stradale. Yet, in contrast to the SF90, where the designers wanted to highlight the presence of advanced technology, the philosophy for the 296 GTB was to clothe that technology in a sophisticated way.

The result is a pure, minimalistic connotation, with the instruments black until the Start Button is pressed, whereupon all of the components spring to life and the 296 GTB reveals its technological glory in the form of an exceptionally modern, ergonomic and completely digital interface. A further example of Ferrari’s philosophy of maximum formal purity is the HUD (Head-Up Display) integrated into the leather trim.

Assetto Fiorano

Assetto Fiorano Ferrari 296 GTB

As was the case with the SF90 Stradale, for clients who want to exploit the car’s extreme power and performance, particularly on the track, the 296 GTB is also available with the Assetto Fiorano package. This includes racing-derived adjustable Multimatic shock absorbers, carbon-fibre elements on the front bumper that can deliver an additional 10kg of downforce, a Lexan® rear screen, and more extensive use of lightweight materials. There are also Michelin Sport Cup2R high-performance tyres. Owners that opt for the Assetto Fiorano package can also order special livery inspired by the 250 Le Mans.  Its design runs from the front wings and hugs the central grille, and delineates its edges. This styling element continues along the bonnet, creating a hammer motif before running lengthways up to the roof and then down onto the rear spoiler.

First deliveries are due in 2022.  Visit www.ferrari.com for more information.

All photographs courtesy of www.ferrari.com
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