2023 Ferrari 296 GTB: This Plug-in Hybrid V6 Horse Prances
Ferrari 296 GTB article highlights:
- The 2023 296 GTB is the first Ferrari-badged car with a V6 and the brand’s first rear-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid
- It’s no faster than the preceding F8, but the 296 GTB is even more civilized—and it can run silently on battery power alone for a limited time
- The 296 GTB lives up to mid-engine Ferrari expectations and then some, and adds its own flair and drama thanks to its hybrid V6 powertrain
Electrification is coming to every automaker, and Ferrari is no exception. As it prepares its first-ever SUV, the Italian brand is also trickling more hybrids into its lineup. And the latest one is the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB, which ditches the usual V8s and V12s for (gasp!) a V6. But if you were worried that the Prancing Horse had forgotten how to dance, worry no more. The 296 GTB may use a different recipe, but it fits into the stable just fine.
It may have a V6, but the plug-in hybrid Ferrari 296 GTB is no mere Dino
|2023 Ferrari 296 GTB|
|Engine||2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with a permanent-magnet electric motor|
|Horsepower||654 hp (V6 only)|
819 hp (V6 and electric motor)
|Transmission||Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Dry weight||3241 lbs|
|0-62 mph time||2.9 seconds|
To be fair, a V6 isn’t as big a ‘sacrilege’ as some Ferrari fanatics might believe. Although they didn’t wear Ferrari badges, Ferrari put V6s in the 206 and 246 Dino. Still, that means the 2023 296 GTB is the first V6-powered car with a Ferrari badge.
In addition, the 296 GTB isn’t the first hybrid Ferrari. However, it does come with another Prancing Horse hybrid first. Unlike the SF90 Stradale, which has three electric motors, it doesn’t have all-wheel drive. Instead, it has a single electric motor supplementing the mid-mounted twin-turbo V6. And because this arrangement exclusively drives the rear wheels, the 296 GTB is Ferrari’s first RWD hybrid, MotorTrend says. So, it’s like a scaled-down LaFerrari with a (thankfully) scaled-down price tag.
Also, even though it’s on the cheaper end of the Ferrari lineup, the 2023 296 GTB isn’t lacking in performance features. It’s the first RWD Ferrari with electric power steering, specifically an updated version of the SF90’s EPS. It also has the latest iteration of Ferrari’s Side Slip Control stability control, and its standard brake-by-wire carbon-ceramic brakes have ABS Evo. The latter feature lets the car modulate an individual wheel’s brakes better, which also improves trail-braking performance, MT explains.
And for those who really live at the track, Ferrari offers the 296 GTB with an optional Assetto Fiorano package. This adds track-optimized Multimatic shocks, a revised aero setup, and multiple carbon-fiber parts to shave 33 pounds off. And if you want to save even more weight, Ferrari offers optional carbon-fiber wheels that cut 70 pounds of unsprung weight. But regardless of wheel choice, this package also swaps the 296 GTB’s standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires for Pilot Sport Cup 2R ones.
The 296 GTB is a real Ferrari—and a real big evolutionary step for the Prancing Horse brand
On paper, the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB isn’t quicker than its immediate predecessor, the F8 Tributo, despite its hybrid boost. Ferrari claims the new car stops faster than the old one, though, Roadshow says. However, that’s not the biggest shift the 296 GTB brings to the Italian automaker.
For one, the 296 GTB isn’t just a plug-in hybrid Ferrari: it’s a (relatively) affordable, daily-drivable one. Roadshow found it even more civilized, mature, and “grown-up” around town than the F8. And in addition to being significantly cheaper than the LaFerrari, the 296 GTB has a longer EV-only range. Yes, the battery-only range is just 15 miles, but this isn’t a mere tax-credit acknowledgment. The 296 GTB starts out in Hybrid mode with the engine off to let the catalytic converters warm-up, MT reports. You really can cruise silently in this Ferrari.
And when the V6 does come to life, something else becomes clear. The 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB’s powertrain doesn’t need qualifiers—it’s good, full stop. The engine and motor hand-offs are “smooth and seamless” in traffic, and when you feel the need for speed, it rips hard in any gear, MT notes. Plus, while the turbocharged V6 can’t quite match a V12’s wail, it revs eagerly with a “characterful” song, Roadshow says.
Then there’s the handling. The 296 GTB has the shortest wheelbase of any current Ferrari road car. Combined with all the electronic aids, chassis upgrades, mid-engine layout, and the sharp, communicative EPS, it makes for an agile, fun, composed sports car. This is a genuine Ferrari, with everything that statement implies.
Is this PHEV supercar worth putting on your wall or in your garage?
Although it’s cheaper than a LaFerrari, the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB isn’t cheap per se. It starts at roughly $318,000 before options like the Assetto Fiorano package. And speaking of, unless you regularly track your cars, it’s arguably unnecessary. Plus, the 2Rs often overheat after a few laps, though it’s not a Ferrari-specific issue, Roadshow notes.
In addition, the 296 GTB isn’t perfect. Having all those controls on the steering wheel is a bit awkward, no matter how you slice it. And the capacitive-touch ones would be more intuitive to use if they were physical.
Overall, though, this car should assuage Ferrari fans’ fears for the future. The 296 GTB isn’t just a good ‘entry-level’ Ferrari or a good hybrid one: it’s good, period. And it shows that the electric horses to come will still know how to prance.
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