FERRARI 296 GTB MAKES GLOBAL DEBUT; A V6 HYBRID SUPERCAR

The first road-going V6 Ferrari supercar is here. Contrary to speculation, it isn’t named ‘Dino’, or anything even remotely related – it’s called the Ferrari 296 GTB, in some amount of defiance against Ferrari’s usual naming convention, thanks in part to Peugeot’s vast naming copyrights, but also referencing the 2,996 cc V6 at the rear. The Ferrari 296 GTB becomes the third two-seater, mid-engined Ferrari in the line-up, bookended by the F8 Tributo and SF90 Stradale, and the third hybrid model LaFerrari and SF90. However, it is the first plug-in hybrid Ferrari to be relatively mainstream.

The important specs are a combined 830 hp/740 Nm from the twin-turbo, hot-vee 2.9-litre 120-degree V6, and 166 hp electric motor (MGU-K) nestled between the engine and eight-speed DCT gearbox, itself a modified version of the one in the SF90 with shorter ratios and an added cog for reverse. The numbers are 0-100 kph in 2.9 seconds, 0-200 kph in 7.3 seconds (half a second quicker than the F8), a top speed over 330 kph, a rev limit of 8,500 rpm and a lap time around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track of 1 min 21 sec, a time that matches that of 2016’s F12tdf hypercar.

The Ferrari 296 GTB, like the SF90, can be driven on electric power alone, for a distance up to 25 km at speeds of up to 135 kph, courtesy of the underfloor 7.45 kWh battery pack, smaller than the SF90’s. Ferrari claims the 2.9-litre V6 has set a record for the highest specific power output at 221 hp per litre, and special attention has been paid to how it sounds with a patented ‘hot tube’ exhaust resonator, resulting in an engine that’s come to be known as the “little V12” internally. The V6 itself weighs some 30 kg less than the twin-turbo 2.9-litre V8 in the F8 Tributo, and the car’s MGU-K weighs 22 kg, while the battery pack weighs in at 177 kg.

Styling follows in the same vein as the SF90. Still, it perhaps presents a cleaner look with Ferrari designers opting to keep the car visually free from obvious aero enhancements, relegating aero elements to the car’s darker lower portion. These elements produce 360 kg of downforce at 250 kph or more than enough to matter at a racetrack. The vertical rear screen – a first for a modern Ferrari – is a bit of a throwback, while the vertical ‘Kamm’ tail does remind one of the Ferrari 250 LM racecar, one of Ferrari’s greatest motorsport hits, hides an active rear spoiler.

It rides on a shortened wheelbase – 50mm shorter than the F8 – and is the shortest wheelbase Ferrari in the line-up, which will undoubtedly help agility, as aided by a new 6-way sensor that helps in sensing the limit of grip to let better the electronics do their job. A new ABS-Evo system has helped shave braking distance by up to nine per cent. Ferrari also says the 296 GTB’s centre of gravity is lowered by 10mm compared to the F8 through an overall lower positioning of the V6 powertrain.

The dash is typical new-age Ferrari, with all-digital instrumentation and a gear selector fashioned after the classic Ferrari H-pattern gate, like in the Roma.

Deliveries in markets abroad are set to begin in the first quarter of 2021, and prices start from 269,000 euro (Rs 2.38 crore before taxes and duties), going up to 302,000 euro (Rs 2.67 crore before taxes and duties) when specced with the Assetto Fiorano pack.

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