Ferrari 296 GTB - Poetry in Motion
Written by Somnath Chatterjee
Flick through the history pages of Ferraris envious back catalogue and you will find some of the most beautiful and knee-trembling supercar shapes that indeed has ever graced our roads. From the beautiful Daytona to the brutal aesthetics of an F40- Ferrari knows how to make a supercar better than just about everyone else.
Maranello off late has been much busier with numerous market introductions and a constant stream of new models. It is clear that Ferrari wants to dominate the market and dissect every opportunity along with showcasing its intent in terms of “responsible performance”.
Electrification is something which is looming large and the days of thunderous V12s may be over. However, the Ferrari engine and the characteristic exhaust note will still be there albeit with an electric motor further pushing Ferraris stance for performance.
The all new 296 GTB is a fitting testament towards clinging on to the traditional Ferrari values along ushering in a new era of faster but more environmentally conscious Prancing horses. The 296 GTB, beneath its admittedly alluring bodywork, has an all new 663 CV 120° V6 engine. It produces 830 CV of power but the V6 marks a paradigm shift for a car-maker who had been solely devoted to 8 and 12 cylinder engines.
However, this isn’t the first time that Ferrari has tinkered with V6s since the very first Ferrari V6 actually had a 65° architecture and debuted on the 1957 1500 cc Dino 156 F2 single-seater. Later, Ferrari launched even more powerful iterations of the same engines with the front-engined prototypes including the 196 S and the 296 S. Let us not forget that the F1 cars like the 246 F1.
The first Ferrari to feature a mid-rear-mounted V6 was again the 246 SP in 1961. The V6 also played a big part in Ferraris racing success with the first Constructors’ title in the Formula 1 World Championship with the 156 F1, which was powered by a 120° V6.
Hence, with a V6 legacy to adhere to, the 286 GTB is not as radical as you might think. That said, there is plenty to talk about the engine including the fact that it has a turbo which enhances its everyday driving qualities plus the electric motor provides a range of 25km in full-electric mode. So, for cruising in cities, where the love for fast internal combustion engined cars are slowly melting way, this car is no longer a concern.
The 8-speed DCT, borrowed from the SF90 Stradale is again an able companion with its smooth responses. Plus in order to preserve that classical Ferrari soundtrack, the engine note has been tuned to channel pure sound into the cabin along mimicking the ferocious aural character of a V12.
We must discuss the design of the 296 GTB more since it brings back the era of fast yet gorgeous Ferraris with the bodywork unperturbed and free of needless complexities. A rear spoiler is neatly hidden away while the mid-engined berlinetta design cues have been carefully drafted in. Designed in-house at the Ferrari Styling Centre, the 296 GTB is delightfully compact yet still bursting with the panache of a prancing horse. The classic and sensuous 60’s models have been referenced heavily here including the 250LM of 1963, especially with the way the B pillar is designed along with the distinctive “Kamm tail”.
The interior meanwhile visits the future with the new look instrumentation and design which Ferrari is now adopting. The classic dials and that key is no longer there but the digital look is a right way into the future. That thought, in many ways, sums up the 296 GTB. It is another addition to an ever increasing line-up of sports cars but one that carves its own niche. It is also a classical Ferrari berlinetta yet inside is brimming with the best that this sports car maker can conjure up in terms of performance and dynamics.
Expect first deliveries to start from 2022 with a starting price of $321,400+, depending on options.