NEW MODEL: Meet the mind-blowing V6 twin-turbo (part-electric) Ferrari 296 GTB
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MARANELLO - The 296 GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta), the latest evolution of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined two-seater coupé, was shown for the first time yesterday in production-ready form during an online event broadcast on Ferrari’s social media and web channels. Ferrari says the petrol-electric 296 GTB redefines the 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 296 GTB ushers in a 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 488kW 120° V6 coupled with an electric motor capable of delivering a further 122kW. You can drive the car for 25km in full electric mode, but what you really want is to dial it up into Qualify mode to unleash the full 610kW potential of the propulsion unit.
What I find most interesting about the engine’s packaging (besides its excessive power figures) is the crankshaft that is made from nitrided steel (a surface hardening process where atomic nitrogen is introduced into the surface of a ferrous alloy).
For Ferrari’s engineers to ensure it maintains its 120° crank angle under high load, after the initial forging of the rough ingot, the crankshaft is twisted and then subject to deep nitriding heat treatments (to guarantee resistance to high loads), machining and balancing.
The firing order of the new V6 (1-6-3-4-2-5) is the result of the crankshaft’s journal geometry. 100% of the rotating masses and 25% of the alternating masses are balanced, and therefore its level of balance allows loads on the bushings to be reduced without increasing the weight of the engine. It truly is a work of art.
The car’s name, according to Ferrari, combines its total displacement (2992cc) and number of cylinders, with the addition of the GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta) acronym to highlight this new engine’s era-defining importance to Maranello. It is not simply the living, beating heart of the 296 GTB, they claim, but it also ushers in a new V6 era for the brand.
If you’re a Ferrari anorak, you will remember that the very first Ferrari V6 featured a 65° architecture and that it debuted on the 1957 1500cc 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 very first Ferrari to sport a mid-rear-mounted V6 was the 246 SP in 1961, which won the Targa Florio both that same year and in 1962, amongst many others.
Also in 1961, Ferrari secured its first Constructors’ title in the Formula 1 World Championship with the 156 F1, which was powered by a 120° V6.
Ferrari first installed turbochargers between an engine’s cylinder banks on the 126 CK in 1981 and subsequently on the 126 C2 in 1982, which became the first turbo-charged car to win the Formula 1 Constructors’ World Championship title. This was followed up with a second title in 1983 with the 126 C3.
V6 turbo hybrid architecture has of course been used in all Formula One single-seaters since 2014, so rest assured this 296 GTB combines the best of nearly 70 years of Ferrari V6 expertise with modern turbo-electric systems to deliver outstanding pace and impact.
0-100km/h in the Ferrari 296 GTB will take just 2.9 seconds, while 0 - 200km/h comes up in just 7.3 seconds. Keep the loud pedal flat and it will arrive at a 330km/h Vmax.
Away from the scintillating performance of the new 296 GTB, Ferrari highlights that the car’s plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system guarantees it to be an incredibly usable vehicle thanks to its 25km range in all-electric eDrive mode.
The car’s compact dimensions and the introduction of innovative dynamic control systems as well as meticulously honed aero should also ensure that drivers will instantly experience astonishing agility and responsiveness to inputs.
As was the case with the SF90 Stradale, for buyers who want to exploit the car’s extreme power and performance to the utmost, particularly on the track, the 296 GTB is available with an “Assetto Fiorano” package, which includes lightweight features and aero modifications. Unfortunately, Ferrari has not indicated to us when this car will be coming to South Africa or what you would expect to pay for one of the most high-tech cars it’s ever made.