Ferrari 296 GTB review: Electrifying

Leow Ju Len

Ferrari’s new plug-in V6 is every bit the sportscar you want it to be. And then some.

SEVILLE, SPAIN — At every Ferrari launch you pray for the weather gods to smile on you, but once in a while they laugh instead. So it was with the media drive for the 296 GTB, and so much for sunny Spain.

Torrential rain isn’t exactly the best setting for getting acquainted with any new Ferrari, but you can see why the 296 GTB in particular gave the rain gods the perfect chance to howl uproariously at me. Under the see-through engine cover, down below the sculptural turbo heat shield, a colossal amount of horsepower lurks. 830 hp, to be exact, and all of it for the rear wheels only.

Ferrari says the 296 GTB has no direct predecessor, owing to the fact that it has a V6 engine, the brand’s first, but it’s also stopped taking fresh orders for the F8 Tributo, the only other mid-engined car in its lineup, so make of that what you will.

To be sure, the 296 GTB makes a clean visual break from the F8. Instead, it has similar styling treatment to the SF90, duck-billed nose, coquettish lamps and all. It’s strikingly low-slung at the front end, but the lines rise as you move rearwards, undulating along the way to form a voluptuous tail section that exudes power and mass, without being itself massive.

There are shades of a legendary racing car here, the 250 LM (yours at auction for eight figures), from the way the air intakes form a tube-like section at the rear haunches to the vertical rear screen.

No surprise there, for Ferrari’s styling chief Flavio Manzoni seems to draw plenty of inspiration from the 1960s, between his latest cars’ smooth, clean lines and the skinny ties in his own wardrobe. 

Yet, if the visuals have their throwback elements, there’s no shortage of the cutting-edge about the 296 GT’s shapely form. Air intakes near the headlights feed cooling air to the front brakes, for instance.

A rear wing pops up (the car decides when) to add 100kg of downforce (which pushes the car to the road for stability), although you have to be going at least 250km/h at the time. There’s a roof wing that, although slender and subtle, accounts for 10 percent of the rear downforce by itself.


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2 seat 2-door 296 GTB Coupe Ferrari Hybrid

About the Author

Leow Ju Len

CarBuyer Singapore's original originator, Ju-Len in person is exactly how he is on the written word and behind the wheel. Meaning that he darts all over the place and just when you thought he's lost the plot, you realise that it's just you not keeping up with his incredible rate of speed and thought.

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