Fresh-faced V6 Hybrid Is Newest Ambassador of Ferrari's "Fun to Drive" Philosophy
Around one week ago, Ferrari had publicly announced that they would be unveiling a brand new model on June 24, 2021 via livestream on social media platforms. Since then, Ferrari has been mostly coy about details regarding their “new revolutionary Prancing Horse sports car”, though they did provide a teaser video on Facebook a day before the official reveal. It provides the first real glimpses of the car – in its entirety – while it gets driven in the countryside by Scuderia Ferrari Ambassador and F1 Client Driver Coach, Marc Gené.
Most rumors were suggesting that it would be a twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid supercar, and prototype/mule car spy shots have been assigned with the codename ‘F171’. It was also suggested that this new Ferrari will slot in under the F8 Tributo, becoming the company’s latest ‘entry-level’ mid-engined supercar. This primed the car to become a number of different things, which included:
The possible revival of the Ferrari Dino. This is getting a lot of airtime amongst Ferrari’s most hardcore fans, who have been longing for the return of this legendary badge. Although the new car will be a hybrid, it is the first time since the Dino that Ferrari has used a V6 engine. Hmmmm!
Direct competition for the recently released McLaren Artura, which also interesting features a twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid drivetrain. As 6-cylinder platform, it is likely that Ferrari also has its sights aimed on other similarly-propelled models such as the Porsche 911 Turbo/Turbo S.
The second Ferrari hybrid car – after the SF90 Stradale hypercar – which is also capable of moving on the power of its electric motors alone (albeit for limited distances).
It’s June 24: Here’s What We Now Know For Sure
Ferrari 296 GTB
Sorry, Dino romantics. It just wasn’t meant to be. The ‘296’ in the name represents the car’s 2.9L displacement via a 6-cylinder layout for the internal combustion component of its hybrid drivetrain. ‘GTB’ stands for ‘Gran Turismo Berlinetta’, a traditional Ferrari moniker reserved for some of its finest rear-mid-engine 2-seaters in the past, with the 296 GTB therefore a continuation of that lineage.
Where It’s Positioned In The Ferrari Roster
The Ferrari 296 GTB is not a replacement for any models formerly or currently in its product range, with Ferrari stating that it is “creating its own segment”. As we already knew, the 296 GTB is indeed billed as the new ‘entry-level’ mid-engined supercar and is being touted as the automaker’s latest ‘gateway’ to experiencing Ferrari’s race-bred DNA.
During the livestream unveiling, Ferrari went straight to the point, immediately comparing the rear-wheel driven 296 GTB to none other than the brand’s range-topping Ferrari SF90 hypercar. This is an apples-to-apples comparison after all, as the SF90 also has a hybrid powerplant and is only one of two such cars with the 296 GTB now part of the family.
Something along the lines of how the SF90 is for those who want to experience the “peak of performance”, while the 296 GTB gives drivers the opportunity to reach the “peak of emotion”. Basically a clever way of saying that it’s not as fast and not as expensive – but for most people, probably just as good. Plus you don’t have to be Sainz or Leclerc to fully enjoy it.
Ferrari reiterated this by going as far as saying that it believes it to be the “most fun car to drive in our product range”, both on track and on normal roads.
Their “Fun to Drive” philosophy has always been a key component of any Ferrari car, and the 296 GTB is further emboldened by it. Three ingredients are required to make this happen per Ferrari. The first is ‘sound’ – the symphony provided by the engine. The Second is ‘perceived acceleration’ – not just 0-60 mph and 1/4 mile times, but also how the car transmits the sensation of speed to the driver. The third is ‘go-kart feeling’ – how well the car responds to driver input and its connection to the road.
The epitome of sportiness, performance, and driving thrills at their best. Best in-class performance. Absolute fun to drive. “The best way to explain it, is to drive it”, Ferrari states. Valid point.
And, there’s more!
Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano
Also available is a more hardcore version of the car known as the Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano, which is named after the company’s iconic test circuit. Not many specifics were revealed about this version, but we were told that it will feature the extensive use of carbon fiber to further reduce the weight. In addition, it will be equipped with a race-derived suspension – for more extreme handling abilities – and racing harnesses. The Assetto Fiorano also gets its own special livery.
Almost zero ‘turbo lag’ and instant response from throttle
Most powerful drivetrain in its segment, producing 221 hp per liter – a new world record.
8-speed dual clutch transmission which is ‘fastest shifting’ in the market
Lightweight 7.45 kWh battery provides ~25 km of range when car is powered exclusively by electric motor
0-100 km/h: 2.9 seconds
0-200 km/h: 7.3 seconds
New vehicle dynamic controls
Reduced weight as much as possible – achieves a 1.77 kg per hp ratio
Wheelbase is 50 mm shorter than the Ferrari F8 Tributo – less inertia and more agility
6 sensors to help control better the car – includes ABS ‘Evo’ system, which helps to reduce braking distance by almost 10%
Light, sleek and compact architecture
Modern interpretation of classic Ferrari DNA
Rear: Kammtail design with jewel-like tail lights integrated with active rear spoiler. Centrally-positioned tailpipe.
Front: Air intakes integrated with modernized ‘tear-drop’ headlights. Suspended front splitter, similar to that of F1 cars.
More compact than any other Ferrari available right now because of its short-wheel base
Interior: Same design language as exterior – perfect marriage between sportiness and elegance. Ergonomics spot-on. Classic “canceletto” center console. Carbon-fiber bucket seats. Lots of carbon-fiber, metals and high quality leathers.
Pricing & Availability
We’re expecting the first examples of the Ferrari 296 GTB to be delivered in early 2022. No specific word on pricing yet, though it is expected to hover around the F8 Tributo’s base MSRP of US$277,000.
We will provide updates on pricing when more information is available, as well as an in-depth review of the car once journalists have a turn at it.