The new age of hybrid supercars is gaining momentum. A few months back we had the reveal of the McLaren Artura, and now there’s this: the Ferrari 296 GTB. Like the McLaren, it uses a 120-degree V6 with the turbochargers sit between the cylinder banks to form a ‘hot vee’.
There is one big difference between the Ferrari and the McLaren, however - power. While the Brit’s total system power is 671bhp, the Italian develops almost that figure from the engine alone. This clean-sheet 2.9-litre unit makes 654bhp, meaning it has the highest specific output of and production powerplant.
Factoring in the electrical gubbins, and you’re looking at a whopping 819bhp. 0-62mph happens in a mere 2.9 seconds, and the top speed is 205mph. That enormous power figure isn’t the only thing that helps the 296 get off the line so quickly - for a hybrid, it’s incredibly light, tipping the scales at 1475kg. Compare that to the Honda NSX, which is a porky 1800kg.
The Honda only has a tiny battery, but the 296? That gets a 7.4kWh pack, giving an electric-only range of up to 15 miles. This power a single electric motor sitting between the gearbox and the engine. So, unlike the SF90 with its front axle motor, the 296 is exclusively rear-wheel drive.
This hybrid setup sits on a new platform with a 50mm shorter wheelbase than the 458/488/F8 Tributo, something the shorter engine makes possible. The 120-degree bank angle of that unit is a relatively obscure one, but it’s ideal in a mid-engined vehicle like this where the width isn’t a problem. Benefits include a lower centre of gravity and easier packaging for the hot-vee turbochargers.
In terms of dynamics, there are standard-fit adaptive dampers, a six-way chassis sensor for the traction control system, and the latest version of Ferrari’s Side Slip Control allowing even the most hamfisted to get their drift on. If specced with the Assetto Fiorano package, which comes with various carbon fibre bits and race-derived dampers, it’s possible to option super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres.
This being a modern Ferrari, a large emphasis is placed on the aero side of the equation. There are various ducts and channels hidden from sight, plus some more obvious stuff like an active rear spoiler and a big rear diffuser. With the Assetto Fiorano package fitted, the 296 is good for 360kg of downforce at 155mph.
No prices have been revealed just yet, but we can expect a slight rise on the £203,476 figure charged for the F8 Tributo.