The Ferrari 296 GTB, the latest evolution of Maranello’s mid-rear-engined two-seater berlinetta, was premiered during an online event broadcast on Ferrari’s social media and web channels. The 296 GTB redefines the whole concept of fun behind the wheel, guaranteeing pure emotions not just when pushing the car to its limits, but also in day-to-day driving situations. The very first Ferrari V6, in fact, featured a 65° architecture and debuted on the 1957 1500 cc Dino 156 F2 single-seater. This was followed in 1958 by bigger displacement versions on the front-engined sport prototypes – the 196 S and 296 S – and F1 cars, such as the 246 F1 which powered Mike Hawthorn to the F1 Drivers’ Championship title the same year.
The car’s name, which combines its total displacement (2992 l) and number of cylinders was chosen, with the addition of the GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta) acronym in finest Ferrari tradition, to underscore this new engine’s epoch-changing importance to Maranello. The 296 GTB ushers in an authentic revolution for Ferrari as it introduces a new engine type to flank the marque’s multi-award-winning 8- and 12-cylinder power units: a new 663 cv 120° V6 coupled with an electric motor capable of delivering a further 122 kW (167 cv). This is the first 6-cylinder engine installed on a road car sporting the Prancing Horse badge; it unleashes its massive 830 cv total power output to deliver previously unthinkable performance levels and an innovative, exhilarating and unique soundtrack.
This is the first ever Ferrari with a rear-wheel drive-only PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) architecture in which the ICE is integrated with a rear-mounted electric motor producing up to 122 kW (167 cv) derived from the Formula 1 application from which it also inherits the MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic) moniker. The electric motor and ICE communicate via the Transition Manager Actuator (TMA) which allows them to be used both together to produce a combined power output of 830 cv or decouples them to allow the electric motor to run solo. Aside from the V6 turbo and the 8-speed DCT already adopted on the SF90 Stradale, Ferrari Roma, Portofino M and the SF90 Spider, the powertrain architecture also includes the MGU-K electric motor positioned between the engine and gearbox, the TMA to decouple the electric motor from the ICE, the 7.45 Kwh high voltage battery, and the inverter which controls the electric motors.
Thanks to its 663 cv and 221 cv/l, the 296 GTB’s ICE sets the new specific power output record for a production road car. Central to achieving this result was the introduction of the 120° vee configuration with equally-spaced firings as well as the positioning of the turbos inside the vee which produces a much more compact engine and optimally distributed masses. The engine is thus lighter and more compact because of the elimination of the plenums and exterior supports boosting intake efficiency. The 120° vee architecture, which offers more space between the cylinder banks than a 90° vee, meant the turbos could be installed centrally, thus significantly reducing the unit’s overall size and the distance the air has to cover to arrive in the combustion chamber, maximising the fluid dynamics and efficiency of the intake and exhaust line ducts.
The 296 GTB is the first Ferrari road car to sport a V6 turbo with a vee with an angle of 120° between the cylinder banks, coupled with a plug-in electric motor. As the V6 turbo is integrated with an electric motor at the rear, the Ferrari 296 GTB’s combined maximum power output is 830 cv, putting it at the top of the rear-wheel-drive sports car segment as well as making it extremely flexible. This is true both in terms of day-to-day contexts (the 296 GTB has a full-electric mode range of 25 km), and in driving enjoyment (accelerator pedal response is instant and smooth at all engine speeds). The result is that the new Ferrari V6 has set a new specific power output record for a production car of 221 cv/l. The powertrain assembly comprises a V6 turbo ICE, with the 8-speed DCT and E-Diff, and the MGU-K located between the engine and the gearbox.
The 296 GTB bursts into the mid-engined berlinetta sports car range, with several radical and innovative solutions. The turbo has been installed above the vee of the crankcase in a hot-V configuration. This means that all of components most critical to heat generation are clustered in the upper centre area of the engine bay, which in turns allows more efficient heat management both of the engine bay itself and of the electrical components. This sharp break from the past is further highlighted by aero choices, which have turned the active aero paradigm introduced from the 458 Speciale onwards, on its head. On the 296 GTB, for the first time, an active device is being used not to manage drag but to generate extra downforce. The LaFerrari-inspired active spoiler integrated into the rear bumper allows the Ferrari 296 GTB to generate a high level of rear downforce when required: the equivalent of a maximum of 360 kg at 250 km/h in high-downforce configuration with the Assetto Fiorano package.
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