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Ferrari 296 GTB test: the wired horse

In the era of galloping electrification, spawning in traffic in silence is gradually losing its magic to almost become the norm. Although with a steering wheel adorned with a black prancing horse on a yellow background in the hands, the experience retains a frankly fascinating dimension.

Driving a Ferrari is nothing trivial, even less so when, like the 296 GTB, it remains silent, not only on takeoff, but for several kilometers and up to 135 km/h. It will even be a first for anyone who hasn’t had the chance so far to take control of the most exclusive SF90 Stradale.

VIDEO – Check out our road and track test of the Ferrari 296 GTB above

The new berlinetta from the transalpine manufacturer thus boasts, like its big sister surpercar, of traveling up to 25 km without humming in any way. Either by force alone of an electric machine, sandwiched between a twin-turbo V6, installed in the rear center position, and the gearbox.

If it is rather necessary to be satisfied with a small half of the autonomy promised in reality, it is enough to feed the fantasies of the most perverse among us. Like inviting Anne Hidalgo to go out by offering her a duo crossing of the ZFE (Low Emissions Zone) in Paris aboard such a virtuous rechargeable hybrid… of 830 hp. Admit that it would not lack audacity.

The chosen one, from your heart or not, would have no excuse to avoid such a proposal. Because despite a bewildering cavalry, raising fears of the worst extremism, the GTB honors the first two letters of its label. While the front cover of the SF90 conceals nothing but an electric motor to guarantee four-wheel drive, that of the 296, simple propulsion, houses a trunk worthy of the name which swallows up more luggage than it only two people need it, and not just for a romantic weekend.

The general comfort is not more to blame. In particular because it is once again possible to soften the damping controlled as standard independently of the driving mode engaged. On the certainly well surfaced roads around Seville in any case, the trick, accessible from the essential manettino located on the right hand, is still just as convincing.

That the steering wheel does for the rest the good part in the touch is however much less. If Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz adjust the operation of the hybrid traction chain of their mount by means of “good old” buttons and levers, it is not for nothing; but rather so as not to have to point the finger at the controls as well as the gaze at more than 300 km / h.

To be forced into the driving position of the 296 GTB is all the less defensible as it is precisely inspired by the single-seaters of the Scuderia from a performance point of view. Without even leaving the Hybrid program engaged by default at start-up, one gasp too many and it’s a change of dimension. With a hoarse timbre under 4,000 rpm, the V6 2.9 (pardon, 2992 cm³…) of 663 hp shows beyond an inexhaustible breath, and this up to 8,500 rpm, by imitating with a certain accuracy the accent of a 12-cylinder.

At the same time, its 167 hp electric counterpart takes care of erasing the response time of the turbos then of bringing all its support according to the regime to make the accelerations exponential. The digital counter displays ever more indecent speeds.

As on the V8 of the 488 GTB and F8 Tributo, the engine management automatically redraws the torque curve, peaking at 900 Nm, depending on the gear engaged for additional character. However, the distribution of the different energies does not cause the slightest bump or jerk and preserves the naturalness of the driving. Masterful.

Only the dazzling F1 robotic gearbox sometimes artificially exaggerates the doubling of the thrust when passing through some of its 8 gears, especially if the most extreme Performance and Qualify modes are preferred.

Operating completely transparently 99% of the time, the hybrid chain is signaled just through the brake pedal, the consistency of which can vary at the start of the race under the effect of regeneration. Although it takes a right foot (or left for some) expertly sharpened to realize it.

Because on the other hand, theABS intervenes with incredible finesse in sporty driving. Well helped by amazing dedicated Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, the driving aid retains its trepidation and allows the front axle to be taken very quickly and very far inside the bend, a bit like a GT3 class racing car which supports being literally thrown in curve.

Promising on the road, this directivity does not double as much as we expected on the track at the wheel of an example equipped with the optional Assetto Fiorano Pack; in other words, in a less romantic way, a sports chassis billed at €32,400. Despite the assortment of Pilot Sport Cup 2 R, again specially developed semi-slicks, the GTB is not much sharper than it already was. While specifying however that in just two laps of the Monteblanco circuit, it is difficult to be sure, knowing that these rubbers require careful adjustment of their pressure to give the best of themselves.

The extra grip, however, is enough to add welcome consistency to the steering. Becoming passive, the suspension also makes the chassis more communicative and responsive. The slightest oscillation of the steering wheel or the right foot immediately affects the trajectory.

50mm shorter wheelbase and 10mm lower center of gravity than an F8 100% thermal, the 296 proves by its agility and its balance that it weighs down with an electric motor and a battery (7.45 kWh and 73 kg) only for the best. And definitely proves it by containing its CO emissions2 at just 149 g/km. Hello Anne?

Our Verdict

If the SNCF hopes to make us prefer the train, Ferrari can boast of making us love the rechargeable hybrid. And that is strong.

WE love

  • supernatural performances
  • Definite versatility
  • Efficient chassis

We love less

  • Tactile ergonomics
  • Equipment to complete
  • Driving license at risk

Ferrari 296 GTB technical sheet

TO BUY

  • Version tested: €271,114
  • From €271,114
  • Average manufacturer consumption/during the test (l/100 km): 6.4/indisp.
  • CO2/ penalty: 149 / 898 €
  • Fiscal power: nc
  • Country of manufacture: Italy

Range offered

  • Plug-in hybrid 830 hp, €271,114

CONDUCT

  • Engine: mid-rear, longitudinal, V6 biturbo, direct injection, 24 valves, variable valve timing, stop & start, 2,992 cc3 + electric machine
  • Transmission: rear-wheel drive, robotized 8-speed
  • System power (hp): 830
  • System torque (Nm): 900
  • Weight (kg): 1,470 (dry and includes weight options)
  • Length.xwidth.xhigh. (m): 4.57 x 1.96 x 1.19
  • Wheelbase (m): 2.60
  • Tank (l): 65
  • Max speed (km/h): >330
  • 0 to 100 km/h: 2”9
  • Standard front – rear tyres: 245/35 R20 – 305/35 R20
  • Test tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and Pilot Sport Cup 2R

LIVE

RECOMMENDED OPTIONS

  • Front axle lift: €4,080
  • Reversing camera: €1,920
  • Apple CarPlay: €3,000

MAIN COMPETITOR

  • McLaren Artura, from €228,000

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