When the Ferrari 296 GTB was introduced I made some virtual renders of how the convertible version would look, a Ferrari 296 GTS … it took Ferrari until today to finally release the official photos and information on this open-top mid-rear-engined berlinetta spider, and I have to say that my creation wasn’t too far off the final production version, still running the 830 cv V6 hybrid that was introduced on the 296 GTB, with 663 cv from the ICE unit and the rest coming from electric motors.
The name GTS comes from Gran Turismo Spider, an acronym we’ve seen on some of the most impressive Ferrari to leave the gates at Maranello, power from a V6 engine goes back a long time in Ferrari’s history, all the way to 1957 with the 1500 cc Dino 156 F2 single-seater. This was followed in 1958 by larger displacement versions on the front-engined sports prototypes – the 196 S and 296 S – and the 246 F1 car which powered Mike Hawthorn to the F1 Drivers’ Championship title the same year.
But the Ferrari 296 GTS is a car of today, with her PHEV system that is able to offer a zero second response time to putting the pedal down, offering a 25 km range on pure electric power, the eDrive mode, in this rather compact Ferrari model, if you look really close you’ll even see a resemblance to the legendary Ferrari 250 LM from 1963, on this Spider version of the new 296 Ferrari calls it the RHT, or Retractable Hard Top, which when closed offers an almost identical driving experience when compared to the 296 GTB coupe version.
Going from Coupe to Convertible, or from GTB to GTS, takes just 14 seconds, and operating the roof can be done at speeds up to 45 km/h, the roof will fold into two sections and sits flush over the front of the engine, which does not interfere with the cooling characteristics underneath the engine cover and results in an amazing design, both in closed and in open form, the new Ferrari 296 GTS is a beautiful sports car. Similar to the SF90 Stradale, this new 296 GTS is also available with the optional Assetto Fiorano package that comes with lightweight parts and aero modifications so the driver can experience the power on the track if desired.
Never before has Ferrari built a road car with a 120° V6 engine, the 296 is the first ever to combine that with a plug-in electric motor, the ICE engine comes with IHI turbos fitted inside the V which makes for a very compact powerplant despite the 2,992 cc displacement, and it brings the center of gravity further down to the tarmac too, with aa 221cv per liter displacement, this V6 sets a record for power output on a production car. Do note the Ferrari 296 GTS power from this V6 goes to the rear wheels through an 8-speed DCT and E-Diff, with the MGU-K located between the engine and the gearbox.
Sound-wise, the V6 engine rewrites the rulebook by harmoniously combining two characteristics that are normally diametrically opposed: the force of the turbos and the harmony of the high-frequency notes of a naturally-aspirated V12. Even at low revs, inside the cabin, the soundtrack features the pure V12 orders of harmonics which then, at higher revs, guarantee that typical high-frequency treble. This Ferrari’s soundtrack matches its performance, creating a sense of unprecedented involvement even with the top down, and marking the turning of a new page in Maranello’s berlinetta history.
Sound is important, and a Ferrari should emit an immediately recognizable sound from the exhaust, and for the 296 GTS the patented ‘Hot Tub’ had to be completely redesigned from the 296 GTB to make sure this convertible sounds as good with the roof up as it does with the roof down, the sound of the V6 engine has the same rich tone and intensity as found on the coupe when the roof of the Spider is up, optimized for the new cockpit geometry, but with the roof folded down into the engine bay the driving experience changes completely and the occupants get an unobstructed connection with the sound coming from the single, center-mounted exhaust.
The electric motor in the Ferrari 296 was derived from Formula One, but this is the first time Ferrari fits it to a rear-wheel-drive spider, the rear-mounted electric motor is capable of 122 kW or 167 cv, this electric motor and the V6 ICE communicate via the Transition Manager Actuator (TMA), this results in multiple options, using them at the same time for a combined power output of 830 cv, or decouple the electric motor from the ICE and go all-electric for up to 25 km thanks to the high voltage battery that comes with a 7.45 kWh capacity and a stunning weight to power ratio.
Just as we’ve seen on the Ferrari 296 GTB, this new 296 GTS comes with active aero inspired by the legendary LaFerrari, more specifically the active spoiler integrated into the rear bumper can generate up to 360 kg of downforce at 250 km/h, the ‘high-downforce’ setting from the Assetto Fiorano package actually generates an additional 100 kg of downforce, the tonneau cover for the 296 GTS has been designed in such a way that both cooling and aerodynamics are at their maximum in all circumstances, this results in the 296 GTS’s active spoiler delivering the same downforce as the 296 GTB!
On the 296 GTS, a power management selector (eManettino) has been adopted alongside the traditional Manettino. The eManettino has four positions which can be selected from the steering wheel:
– eDrive: the internal combustion engine is off and there is pure electric drive to the rear wheels, with a fully-charged battery the car can cover 25 km at a maximum speed of 135 km/h
– Hybrid (H): this is the default mode on ignition. The power flows are managed for maximum efficiency and the control logic defines the intervention of the internal combustion engine. With the engine on, the car develops its maximum power and performance
– Performance: the ICE is always on and helps maintain the battery efficiency to ensure full power at all times. This is the ideal setting for press-on driving
– Qualify: provides maximum performance but at the cost of lower battery recharging.
On the inside of the new Ferrari 296 GTS, we find the new concept of a digital interface, while the SF90 Stradale showcased the advanced technology to emphasize a break from the past, for the 296 GTS the designers went for a more sophisticated look, a purer style, almost minimalistic, which is especially evident when the car isn’t running as all the displays turn black in that case, naturally while being seated on some of the finest Italian leather available, and as we are talking about a GTS, there are bespoke flaps integrated into the rear trim to counteract buffeting for a more comfortable ride with the roof down.
If you want the most extreme version of the Ferrari 296 GTS you’ll have to opt for the Assetto Fiorana package which comes with GT racing-derived, fully-adjustable Multimatic shock absorbers that have been optimized to go onto the track, but this option will also add high downforce carbon-fiber add-ons to the front bumper for an additional 10 kg of downforce, and let’s not forget the beautiful carbon-fiber parts being added to both the exterior and interior of the 296 GTS.
And it’s not just about replacing parts between a 296 GTS and a 296 GTS Assetto Fiorano, the door panel is redesigned for the latter, which comes with an 8 kg weight saving, and those impressive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2R high-performance tires are only available if you add the Assetto Fiorano first, as is that amazing looking 250 Le Mans livery we see on the red car in this article, some clients won’t like it, but other will surely love it, in case of this Ferrari 296 GTS the livery adds strips over the retractable roof that continue onto the rear wing, while the distinctive livery design at the front just adds a touch of color to both the front bumper and the hood at the front, and let’s not forget that large lip underneath the front bumper on this package.
296 GTS – TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Type V6 – 120° – turbo – dry sump
Overall displacement 2992 cm3
Bore and stroke 88 mm x 82 mm
Max. power output ICE* 663 cv
Max. power output hybrid system** 610 kW (830 cv) at 8000 rpm
Max. torque 740 Nm at 6250 rpm
Max. revs 8500 rpm
Compression ratio 9.4:1
High voltage battery capacity 7.45 kWh
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHTS
Length 4565 mm
Width 1958 mm
Height 1191 mm
Wheelbase 2600 mm
Front track 1665 mm
Rear track 1632 mm
Dry weight*** 1540 kg
Dry weight/power ratio 1.86 kg/cv
Weight distribution 40.5 % front / 59.5 % rear
Rear bench capacity 49 litres
Fuel tanks capacity 65 litres
TYRES AND WHEELS
Front 245/35 ZR 20 J9.0
Rear 305/35 ZR 20 J11.0
Front 398 x 223 x 38 mm
Rear 360 x 233 x 32 mm
TRANSMISSION AND GEARBOX
8-speed F1 DCT
eSSC: eTC, eDiff, SCM, FDE2.0, EPS, ABS Evo, 6w-CDS; high-performance ABS/EBD with energy recovery
Max. speed > 330 km/h
0-100 km/h 2.9 s
0-200 km/h 7.6 s
200-0 km/h 107 m
Fiorano lap time 1’ 21” 80
FUEL CONSUMPTION AND CO2 EMISSIONS
* With 98 RON petrol
** with eManettino in Qualify mode
*** With optional lightweight content
Some more photos of the beautiful Ferrari 296 GTS: