The 296 GTS, the evolution of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined two-seater berlinetta spider concept, is powered by the new 120° V6 engine coupled with a plug-in (PHEV) electric motor, which unleashes a massive 830 cv in total. The car thus redefines the whole concept of fun behind the wheel, guaranteeing pure emotions not just when it is being pushed to its limits, but also in day-to-day driving situations.
The engine architecture means that the turbochargers can fit inside the “vee”. This makes it more compact, lowers its centre of gravity, reduces its mass, and gives it an extraordinarily high power output of 663 cv. This layout has its roots deep in the Prancing Horse’s unrivalled racing experience: the first Ferrari to sport a mid-rear V6 was the 246 SP in 1961, which also won the Targa Florio that year and in 1962.
This is the first open-top Ferrari with rear-wheel drive plug-in (PHEV) hybrid architecture, which sees the internal combustion engine integrated with a rear-mounted electric motor. The two power units communicate through the TMA actuator, which allows them to be used together or just with the electric motor. The electric motor boosts the 296 GTS’s maximum power to a category-topping 830 cv, as well as increasing the car’s versatility in everyday driving (giving it a range of 25km in full-electric mode) and fun behind the wheel.
Sound-wise, the V6 engine rewrites the rulebook by harmoniously combining the force of the turbos with the harmony of the high-frequency notes of a naturally-aspirated V12. This V6 earned itself the nickname “piccolo V12” (little V12) during the development phase because of its instantly recognisable sound. The latter is the result of the 120° vee architecture, which guarantees a symmetrical firing order while the tuned exhaust manifolds combined with the single exhaust line amplify the pressure waves. This lends incredible purity to the orders of harmonics, further helped by a limiter that hits an impressive 8500 rpm. Also pivotal is the patented “hot tube” which has been completely redesigned for the 296 GTS’s new engine bay geometry and is positioned prior to the exhaust gas treatment systems to channel the pure sound into the cabin.
The 296 GTS bursts into the mid-engined berlinetta sports car range with several radical and innovative solutions. The car’s performance was achieved by seamlessly optimising its volumes with all the performance-oriented elements which meld effortlessly with the styling to underscore the marriage of technology and aesthetics that is part of Ferrari’s very DNA. The specific configuration of the 296 GTS’s tonneau cover creates a virtual fairing that mimics the aerodynamic behaviour of a coupé. Thanks to this optimisation work, the 296 GTS’s active spoiler delivers the same downforce as the 296 GTB.
The 296 GTS further enhances the clean, sophisticated lines of the 296 GTB. When the top is down, it is the peerlessly elegant epitome of the open-air hybrid concept. Its unprecedented architecture for a spider, in fact, opens a whole new chapter in the marque’s story. The need to stow the RHT (Retractable Hard Top) inside the engine compartment inspired the Ferrari Styling Centre team, headed by Flavio Manzoni, to create a new tonneau cover design, the geometries of which have produced styling elements very different to the Ferrari spiders of the recent past. While on the 296 GTB the engine bay is completely horizontal and dominated by two flying buttresses, in a nod to the 250 Le Mans archetype, the 296 GTS’s tail is absolutely unique.
The spider’s extreme performance can be accentuated by the 296 GTS Assetto Fiorano package, which includes significant weight-reduction and aero features. Most notable of these are special GT racing-derived adjustable Multimatic shock absorbers optimised for track use, high downforce carbon-fibre appendages on the front bumper, and more extensive use of lightweight materials such as carbon-fibre for both cabin and exterior. Some parts had to be completely redesigned, including the door panel, resulting in an overall weight saving of 8 kg. Lastly, a special 250 Le Mans-inspired livery can also be ordered exclusively with the Assetto Fiorano package. Its design runs from the front wings and hugs the central grille, delineating its edges. This styling element continues along the bonnet, before running lengthways up to the RHT, tonneau cover and then down onto the rear spoiler.