Ferrari 296 GTB lands in Malaysia

Ferrari 296 GTB lands in Malaysia

IF recent Ferrari offerings have been all about outright numbers, then this new baby from Maranello is more for those who prefer fun driving rather than performance figures.

Brought in officially by Naza Italia, the Ferrari 296 GTB is a machine that is designed to “define fun to drive”, according to the Italian carmaker.

It is a plug-in hybrid sports car with an all-new V6 powerplant and a mid-engined two-seater configuration.

The name 296 refers to the engine displacement (2.9-litre) and the number of cylinders (six), although the engine capacity is technically rated at 2,992cc.

However, despite being aimed at bringing fun drive to the next level, it does not mean that the 296 GTB is shy on power.

It boasts 818hp (or 830cv as the carmaker prefers to denote) and 740Nm of torque. The new V6 engine features a 120-degree cylinder banks design with the two turbochargers sitting in between the hot vee for compact packaging and to improve response.

This mill alone makes around 654hp but is aided by an electric motor that produces another 164hp; hence the combined output of 818hp.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission also seen on the SF90 Stradale/Spyder, Roma and the Portofino M.

But unlike the SF90 that got an electric motor in its front axle to make it an all-wheel drive, the 296 GTB channels all of its powertrain output solely to the rear axle, making it a pure rear-wheel drive.

Sandwiched between the engine and the gearbox is an MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic) with a clutch to deliver a pure electric drive in eDrive mode (up to 25km range and at 135kph).

The lithium-ion battery on the 296 GTB is an 80-cell 7.5kWh unit similarly found on the SF90 but is 2kg lighter and charges around five per cent faster.

Performance-wise, it can complete the century dash in just 2.9 seconds and zero to 200kph in a blistering 7.3 seconds, with a top speed of more than 330kph.

There are four driving modes, namely eDrive, Hybrid (default mode), Performance (which keeps the engine running and prioritises battery charging) and Qualify (which provides maximum power output in case you want to set the best lap time on the race track).

In terms of appearance, the 296 GTB is the most compact car in Ferrari’s current lineup, almost like a baby Ferrari although quite monstrous in performance.

One highlight is the wheelbase that is 50mm shorter than the F8 Tributo, thanks to the smaller V6 engine (the F8 uses a V8).

The shorter wheelbase and the overall compact dimensions are part of what makes it fun to drive.

As with other Ferrari models, the 296 GTB features some clever solutions around the bodywork for optimised aerodynamics.

For instance, the intake in the centre of the front bumper, called the Tea Tray, is designed to accelerate air into the underbody of the car to improve the front downforce, all Grand Prix stuff.

The intakes on either side under the daytime-running lights are designed to channel air into the front wheel well to cool the brakes.

At the rear, the 296 GTB is fitted with an active spoiler that extends upwards to increase rear downforce as well as improve stability when braking from high speeds.

Fun fact, this active rear spoiler is taken from the LaFerrari hypercar.

The overall exterior design of the 296 GTB takes cues from previous iconic models such as the Dino and the 1963 250 LM.

Inside, the 296 GTB has similar architecture as the SF90 and Roma, where it is more minimalistic with few physical buttons.

These are replaced by haptic and touch surfaces/screens; in fact, the engine Start/Stop control is now a flat surface.

Thankfully though, the Manettino switch is still a physical one, a red anodised aluminium no less.

This is to scroll through the Wet, Sport, Race, and CT Off modes.

The instrument cluster is a fully digital screen and you get the traditional central rev counter in the middle along with dual screens on either side to display numerous driving information.

As for the vehicle dynamics control systems, the 296 GTB is equipped with electronic side slip control, electric traction control, electronic differential, a new 6w-CDS (six-way chassis dynamic control) and a new brake-by-wire system incorporating a new anti-lock braking system for a sporty brake feel.

The 296 GTB is priced from RM1,228,000 (before duties, taxes, customisation options and insurance).

For those who would like to tune the 296 GTB up a notch, they can opt for the Assetto Fiorano package that includes race-derived adjustable Multimatic shock absorbers, titanium springs, carbon fibre blades on the front bumper (adds 10kg of downforce), an ultralight Lexan rear screen and Michelin Sport Cup 2 R tyres. Nst

Ferrari 296 GTB lands in Malaysia

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