The Ferrari 296 GTB: A Perfect Blend of Old & New

Source: Motor Trend

Here’s a fun fact: I was sitting in a Ferrari Dino 246 GT when I got the notification on my phone announcing the new Ferrari 296 GTB. Now don’t worry, I’m not just showing off, there’s a reason I’m starting the article off this way. To most car enthusiasts, this new 296 GTB is supposed to be the spiritual successor to the iconic Dino. In fact, most of us expected the 296 GTB to also be given the Dino nickname. Now while Ferrari did leave us disappointed in this respect, heritage is only one part of what makes this new release so intriguing. 

First things first, the new plug-in hybrid 296 GTB is not intended as a replacement for the F8 Tributo. Instead, it will slot in next to the F8 in Ferrari’s lineup as another offering around the $200,000 to $300,000 mark. As I glossed over before, the 296 GTB is a hybrid, and that in itself signifies a major step for Ferrari. Hybrid technology is no longer reserved for their Formula 1 team or immensely expensive hypercars, it is now available in a more “accessible” supercar that hints at what the company’s future lineup may look like. 

Source: Motor Trend

The combustion engine is a cleverly packaged 120 degree 3.0L V6 that generates 654 horsepower on its own. It is then paired with one electric motor which adds another 165 horsepower to the equation. This is the first time since the original 1967 Dino that Ferrari has used a V6 engine. However, Ferrari still has plenty of experience with V6 hybrid systems thanks to its Formula 1 team. No doubt about it, the 296 GTB’s power unit is an impressive piece of engineering. Ferrari found a way to procure V12 type performance figures from what is a comparatively minuscule engine conjoined with only one electric motor. To continue with talk about the powertrain, the 296 GTB has a rear wheel drive configuration unlike its hybrid cousin the SF90. This will help bring the car’s weight down and make for a more pure driving experience. The 296 GTB also comes with a new TMA actuator which allows the car to drive using only its electric motors with a range of about 16 miles. 

Source: Motor Trend

Vehicle dynamics is another area where Ferrari has impressed me with the 296 GTB. To me, other Ferraris like the 812 Superfast or F8 Tributo aggressively grab you by the neck and make a fun but cacophonous commotion. By comparison, a mid-engined V6 like the original Dino is delicate and smooth. So while the 296 GTB should be quick like any other supercar, it must also carry an elegance in the way that it flows from corner to corner and applies its power. In other words, the car should feel balanced even when driven hard, and that’s where vehicle dynamics come in. With the 296 GTB, Ferrari has introduced a new 6w-CDS sensor and paired it with an ABS evo controller. These two components work together, swapping information about lateral grip and steering input, allowing you to corner harder and faster. They also work together to decrease stopping distances and permit you to use the brakes longer before they start to fade. Additionally, the 296 GTB uses aero features such as an air brake and active spoiler underneath the car which both deploy when needed. These might not be the most novel features, but they still play their role by improving downforce for cornering and braking.   

Source: Motor Trend

Finally, onto the design. To me, it is the final jewel in the crown that is the 296 GTB. It reflects the balance I mentioned before, introduces the simplicity and elegance I was hoping for, and uses design language reminiscent of the past. From the front, the car looks very similar to the aforementioned SF90, but if you look at the nose you can also see elements of the F8 Tributo. The massive air intakes that sit right in front of the rear wheel arches are also similar to those found on the classic Ferrari 250 LM. In terms of an homage to the Dino, the flat engine cover and the rear buttresses extending from the cabin are probably the most obvious examples we can cite. With the 296 GTB, Flavio Manzoni and his team have been able to combine classic and modern design language to create a car that is aesthetically exciting without being overly complicated. In many ways, the quality and thought behind the styling on the 296 GTB reminds me of another one of Ferrari’s new releases: the Roma. So I’m happy to say that when it comes to design, Ferrari has been on a roll.

Source: Motor Trend

I know that at this point most of the chatter that you’re hearing about the 296 GTB is exactly that, just chatter. However, I see this new release as more than just a singular car, I see it as a vote of confidence for the future. With other Italian manufacturers like Lamborghini and Maserati announcing their intentions to go fully electric, there is a lot of uncertainty as to how these illustrious brands will continue to churn out characterful cars without the help of a combustion engine. Now I know the 296 GTB isn’t a fully electric car, but still, its release signifies that a company like Ferrari can take a step towards our automotive future without sacrificing those wonderful qualities we usually seek from a traditional, thoroughbred Italian supercar. 

Citations:

“Ferrari 296 GTB: Defining Fun To Drive – Ferrari.Com”. Ferrari.Com, 2021, https://www.ferrari.com/en-US/auto/296-gtb. Accessed 30 June 2021.

“Ferrari 296 GTB – Wikipedia”. En.Wikipedia.Org, 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrari_296_GTB. Accessed 30 June 2021.

“No Dino 2.0: The 2022 Ferrari 296 GTB”. Motortrend, 2021, https://www.motortrend.com/news/2022-ferrari-296-gtb-first-look-review/. Accessed 30 June 2021.

“Shmee150 In English – Shmee150 – Living The Supercar Dream”. Shmee150 – Living The Supercar Dream, 2021, https://shmee150.com/shmeevideos/. Accessed 30 June 2021.

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