This past April, Ferrari chairman John Elkann had announced that the Italian company plans to unveil its first all-electric car in 2025. Yes, Ferrari already has the SF90 Stradale in its line-up, a plug-in hybrid powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 along with three electric motors that produce a combined output of 986bhp. The SF90 was launched back in 2019. And now, Ferrari has taken another step forward in electric mobility by unveiling the all-new 296 GTB, a petrol-electric hybrid.
While Ferrari moves forward with the new 296 GTB, it also looks to its glorious past. The Italian supercar marque is known for its V8 and V12 engines; anything with less than eight cylinders has not, in the last 50 years, been deemed worthy of being used on a Ferrari. The last Ferrari road car to have a six-cylinder engine was the Dino 246 GT, which Ferrari stopped producing in 1974. The V6 makes a comeback with the new 296 GTB, which gets a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 and a single electric motor for a combined output of 818bhp and 740Nm torque.
Unlike V6-engined Dinos, which never actually carried the ‘Ferrari’ badge despite being built by Ferrari, the 296 gets full Ferrari badging. The car is a plug-in hybrid and can even be driven in an all-electric ‘eDrive’ mode, though you won’t get too far with this – the range is limited to a mere 25km in electric-only mode. No, the engineers at Tesla aren’t too worried about the 296’s capabilities as an EV.
Of course, the 296 GTB wasn’t designed to function as an EV. Instead, like any other Ferrari currently in production, it’s designed to light up all your senses when you mash its throttle to the floor. With a dry weight of less than 1,500 kilos and more than 800 horsepower going to the rear wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, the 296 GTB goes from zero to 200kph in just 7.3 seconds. Its top speed of more than 330kph should also satisfy just about anyone who isn’t currently driving a Bugatti Chiron.
Those who might be worried about only having a V6 under the hood, rather than one of Ferrari’s magnificent V8s or even V12s, have no fear. The Maranello-based company has worked extensively on the 296’s harmonics, using large dollops of Italian engineering black magic to ensure that the new V6 sounds, for the most part, like one of the bigger V12s. The electric motor works quietly in the background, allowing the V6 to take centre stage and strut its stuff, which is how Ferrari fanatics would want it to be.
With styling references from past Ferraris – iconic names like the Testarossa and F355 – yet with a modern, contemporary interpretation of the Ferrari design ethic that’s all its own, the 296 GTB is at once instantly recognisable as a Ferrari, without being the cliched ‘red Italian supercar.’ With its short, compact wheelbase, muscular bodywork, spot-on proportions and aggressive stance, the 296 does look gorgeous from every angle. Bellissima!
There is no official word on pricing and India launch timelines. Still, we’re sure the new 296 GTB will come to India, probably by mid-2022. The car is priced at around Rs 2.38 crore in Europe and might well cost twice as much in India due to import duties, taxes, etc. For a slice of supercar driving nirvana – done the way only Italians can do – the 296 would be hard to beat despite the high price tag.