2023 Ferrari 296 GTS – We’re driving a Ferrari Hybrid Convertible

Zoom in / Ferrari ditched the V8 for its latest mid-engined supercar, the 296 GTS.

Jonathan Gitlin

IMOLA, Italy — Time is running out for the internal combustion engine. Looming bans on new cars powered by internal combustion engines are set to take effect in the mid-2030s around the world, from California to China, but so far, dozens of European cities have implemented low-emission zones restricting passenger hybrid cars and crossovers. electrical. And unlike the average carbon dioxide2 The regulations that govern automakers make no exceptions for building at low volumes.

This means that if you make supercars – like a Ferrari for example – and want to sell your supercars to people who live downtown (which supercar owners often do), it’s time to get electric. This is something Ferrari has been working on for some time, first in Formula 1 and then in its very expensive, ultra-low-volume models like the LaFerrari and SF90. But now, that technology has trickled down to the manufacturer’s bread-and-butter model, a mid-engined machine called the 296. During the spring, Ferrari debuted the 296 GTB hardtop. Recently, he took the lid off a top-of-the-line 296 GTS, tested here.

Visually, it’s easy to position this as a mid-engined Ferrari, and if you line up the 296 alongside the F8, 488 and 458, the evolution of the form is evident. Then again, there are only so many places you can put your mid-engine car’s engine and radiator, and where you go determines where you need the ductwork, vents, etc. However, break out a tape measure and you will discover that the wheelbase has shrunk by a few inches (50 mm).

The visual similarities run deep, as the heart of the 296 really is all-new. For the first time, Ferrari installed a V6 engine for one of its road cars, which gave the car its name – a 2.9-liter six-cylinder. (Pedants will note that the 206 GT, 246 GT, and 246 GTS models built in the 1960s and 1970s only wore Dino badges, never the descending horse.)

The V6 engine is much shorter and lighter than the V8 it replaces.
Zoom in / The V6 engine is much shorter and lighter than the V8 it replaces.


The 2.9-liter V6 uses a 120-degree V-shape, with the turbochargers located above and between the two cylinder banks—a so-called “hot cone” arrangement. Placing the turbines above the engine rather than hanging on either side helps pack the engine inside the chassis, and Ferrari says it also lowers the center of gravity and mass of the engine.

The engine’s combustion chambers are a development of those in the SF90 engine, with direct fuel injection at 350 bar. The symmetrical pair of anti-rotating turbochargers rotate at up to 180,000 rpm; It’s larger than the one you’d find connected to the 3.9-liter turbocharged V8 that Ferrari used to use but has lower idle and much more efficiency. Power output is 218 bhp (163 kW/L) or 654 bhp (488 kW).

On its own, it’s almost as powerful as the Ferrari 488 we tested in 2017, but the 296 is a plug-in hybrid, so between the V6 and the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission you’ll find a donut-shaped, single-rotor axial-flow electric motor-generator unit. , twin-axle, makes 165 bhp (123 kW) and 232 lb-ft (315 Nm), backed by a 7.45 kWh lithium-ion aspirated battery that lives behind the engine seats. MGU is built by Yasa.

With the engine and MGU working together, the 296 GTS had a maximum power of 818 hp (610 kW). But the MGU can operate on its own without firing the V6 at speeds up to 84 mph (135 km/h) in eDrive mode. The battery stores enough power for an EPA-rated electric-only range of eight miles, but WLTP testing in Europe is less realistic and estimates that range at 25km.

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