Hadag headed to the bustling metropolis of Dubai to get its hands on the new Ferrari 296 GTS.
This month, thanks to the team at Ferrari Middle East, Hadag experienced the latest evolution of Maranello’s mid-rear-engined two-seater Berlinetta Spider in all its modern glory under the sunny skyline of one of the world’s most impressive cities.
A mere glance was all it took for us to become obsessed with the new 296 GTS. The clean and sophisticated lines of Ferrari’s latest offering ensure it is a peerlessly elegant epitome of what all two-door sports cars should aspire to.
The clean and instantly recognisable exterior design of the GTS remains intact despite multiple modifications and optimised volumes to the bodywork. These upgrades have been incorporated into the new design to maximise aerodynamics and improve overall performance. Focussing first on the front end, we noticed how the side volume creases sharply inwards, almost folding over the side splitter. What stood out at the flanks was the bold design of the side air curtains that channel the air from the front part of the bumper towards the wheel well so that it vents through a specially created opening in the wheel arch.
To generate extra downforce, the master craftsmen at Ferrari have included a LaFerrari-inspired active spoiler that takes up almost all the space between the taillights. Seamlessly integrated into the rear bumper, this sporty feature automatically deploys when the car reaches a certain speed. When maximum downforce is not required, the spoiler is stowed in a compartment in the upper section of the tail. We found the precision and beauty of this component’s design to be nothing less than exceptional.
Furthermore, the sportscar’s exterior features a fully horizontal engine bay, two flying buttresses and effortless integration of the compact cabin with the wings and flanks. We appreciated how the buttress theme is further enhanced by contrasting sculpted extensions that frame the engine cover screen and integrate the novel fuel filler and battery charge covers.
After what seemed like hours, we managed to tear our eyes away from the silky-smooth design of the exterior and shift our attention to all that lay within.
Our internal inspection revealed an upgraded cockpit developed around an entirely digital interface. The presence of this cutting-edge technology is underscored by a pure and minimalistic interior design, characterised by a powerful elegance that mirrors the aesthetic of the exterior.
Entering the cockpit, we were welcomed by ultra-comfortable and supportive diapason-style sports seats. These custom creations we learned were developed specifically for the new 296 GTS, with their contrasting grooves coordinating perfectly with the edge strip of the instrument cluster.
We admired how the sculptural door panels are a seamless continuation of the high-quality dashboard in terms of design, material and colour. A novel three-dimensional element has been included on the central medallion in the form of a deep lozenge-shaped scoop that makes the entire door panel look extremely light, while integrating the theme that connects it to the rear trim.
As impressive as this Ferrari is standing still, it was only once out on the roads that it fully revealed its exceptional nature.
POWER & PERFORMANCE
The new 296 GTS houses the 830cv Ferrari V6 hybrid powertrain, ensuring our highlight of the day was engaging the ignition.
This powerful configuration includes a turbo V6 Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) coupled with a plug-in electric (PHEV) motor. Even at low revs, we found the engine sounds to be nothing less than inspiring, inciting us to apply more weight to the acceleration pedal.
This potent assembly comprises the turbo-charged V6 that feeds power to the rear wheels via the 8-speed DCT and E-Diff, and the MGU-K located between the engine and the gearbox. The result is a new specific power output record for a production car at 221cv/l.
With a total power output of 830cv, 740Nm of torque at 6,250rpm and a maximum rev count of 8,500rpm, this sportscar can deliver breakneck speeds. It boasts a 0-100km/h time of just 2.9 seconds, a 0-200km/h time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 330km/h!
To tame the power of this wild prancing horse, Ferrari has included an exceptional braking system that ensures a 200-0km/h deceleration distance of 107m.
The 296 GTS is the first ever Ferrari spider with a rear-wheel drive-only PHEV architecture in which the ICE is integrated with a rear-mounted electric motor. With a full-electric mode range of 25km, we recognised how the hybrid element of this Ferrari makes it extremely versatile in terms of day-to-day driving.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a GTS without a Retractable Hard Top (RHT). Stored inside the engine compartment to maintain the sleek and sporty exterior design, this lightweight top takes just 14 seconds to deploy or retract at speeds up to 45km/h. A simple touch of a button is all it takes. Cruising around Blue Water in the new 296 in the late afternoon with the top down enjoying the fresh breeze, made for one truly memorable driving experience.
Despite the array of first-class qualities touched on above, in truth, the new 296 has far too many exceptional design, performance and technological features to mention, and one needs to spend time in this Ferrari to fully appreciate the genius of its makeup.