The new Ferrari 296 GTB offers nothing less than an electrifying experience.
“From every angle the clean architecture emphasises the sporty character of this two-door Ferrari.”
So, what could be better than test driving the new Ferrari 296 GTB? Test driving the new Ferrari 296 GTB in Sevilla Spain of course! This month Hadag magazine travelled to the picturesque region of Sevilla in the south of Spain to put the latest creation from Ferrari through its paces. Our goal: to see how well this hybrid luxury sports car handled on both the winding roads of the Sierra Norte de Sevilla mountain range, as well as on the modern Circuito Monteblanco racetrack in La Palma del Condado, a town in the beautiful province of Huelva.
After a comfortable flight lasting just over eight hours, we finally touched down in Sevilla, a city located on the east bank of the River Guadalquivir, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. After a quick hotel book in, we were more than happy to head straight for the racetrack to pick up our GTB, hugely excited at the prospect of getting our hands on a premium machine that up until now, we had only admired in pictures.
Arriving at Circuito Monteblanco, we were warmly greeted by everyone involved and soon found ourselves standing in front of the Ferrari. With far too many impressive aspects to include in one article, we will have to stick to the highlights and hope we do this outstanding sports car justice.
Looking at the 296’s unique overall design, we could instantly see the classic Berlinetta fastback configuration has been relinquished in favour of designing a cabin that is the focal point of the car’s composition. The aesthetically pleasing combination of a visor-styled windscreen, well-muscled wings, robust buttresses and new vertical screen, combined with a short wheelbase, underscore the visually imposing cabin and add greatly to the aerodynamic nature of the vehicle. From every angle the clean architecture emphasises the sporty character of this two-door Ferrari.
At the tapered frontend, the headlight design has been inspired by the teardrop-shaped headlights of times past, whilst the centre of the single-grille has been reduced in height, hinting at the presence of two powerful radiators. A Formula 1-styled compact suspended wing sitting under the grille, adds yet another novel aerodynamic attribute to this already uber streamlined vehicle.
At the sides, a clearly defined crease line flows along the doors and blends with the large, cylindrical air intakes, whilst new alloy wheels with twin-spoke design added to our aching desire to get this car out onto the tarmac. Michelin have been selected by Ferrari as the official tire supplier for the new 296 GTB, providing both the Michelin Pilot 4S K1 tires for road driving, as well as the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R K2 for more aggressive track-based racing.
At the back, the flawless design of the rear wing guarantees sufficient airflow to the spoiler, ensuring optimum aerodynamic performance. The tail end exhibits a distinguished flying buttress that incorporates the engine bay cover. This cover showcases a distinctive, three-dimensional glass surface, revealing the impressive powertrain setup beneath. Other notable rear features include the Kamm tail, retracting spoiler, a central wing stowed in the bodywork between the taillights, and a modern, single central exhaust pipe. Lookswise, this Ferrari is simply flawless.
Drawing inspiration from the SF90 Stradale, the cockpit of the 296 GTB focuses on the presence of advanced technology, housing an entirely digital interface. This approach not only underscores a new chapter of interior design but results in a minimalistic overtone characterised by a powerful elegance that complements the design of the exterior perfectly.
From our vantage point of the comfortable, supportive and well positioned, diapason-style sports seats, the cabin and indeed the rest of the vehicle, has been kitted out using only the very finest of materials. From the Italian leather seats to all the premium trimmings, details and finishes, we could not spot one design choice that looked anything less than exclusive. Perhaps the most impressive element of this setup is the modern, ergonomic and completely digital interface.
When the car is off, all the instruments are black, adding to the minimalistic nature of the design. Once the ‘Start’ button is pressed, all the components light up, revealing the 296 GTB’s exceptional setup. The main instrument cluster has been sunk into the dashboard trim and boasts a clean and taut surface. Just below, sits the Ferrari sports steering wheel that feels perfect in hand. Two side satellites, each with its own capacitive touch area, and an air vent complete the driver’s immediate picture. The passenger side further adds to the minimalistic approach of the interior design, with only a standard passenger-side display present, that allows for a co-driver experience.
The dashboard blends effortlessly with the modelled door panels in terms of both colours and materials, which in turn seamlessly integrate with the rear trim. Focusing on the tunnel, a compartment for stowing the ignition key, complete with the Ferrari emblem, has been included, along with the SF90 Stradale-inspired contemporary take on the classic gear-shift gate. Although we could have spent all day appreciating every detail of this resplendent vehicle, we had a three-hour mountain trail to conquer and we were more than excited to get behind the wheel.
The new 296 GTB is the first road car designed by Ferrari to house a V6 turbo, with a vee sporting an angle of 120° between the cylinder bank, coupled with a plug-in electric motor. This combination enables the vehicle to generate a maximum power output of 830cv, making it the most powerful rear-wheel-drive sports car on the market. This setup also makes the 296 a practical day-to-day vehicle with its full-electric mode range of 25km. Combined with an eight-speed DCT, this Ferrari produces 740Nm of torque at 6,250 rpm. This allows the 296 GTB to surge from 0-100km/h in a mere 2.9 seconds, 0-200km/h in 7.3 seconds and to reach a top speed of 330km/h. Thanks to its superb braking system, it can reduce its speed from 200-0km/h in just 107 meters.
In truth we could write pages just focussing on other aspects of the powertrain, the vehicle dynamics, the aerodynamics and other mind-blowing features, but we will have to save that for another day.
Manoeuvring The Sierra Norte de Sevilla Mountain Range
Making our way north of the Seville province to the Sierra Norte de Sevilla mountain range in the UNESCO Global Geopark, we found ourselves smiling like Cheshire Cats as the mountain air tugged at our sleeves. Manoeuvring through this beautiful range we experienced much of what the 296 GTB has to offer. Comfortability wise, you can’t experience much better than this. The car has such great suspension, rides so smoothly, is so responsive and handles the bends so well, it almost lulls you into a subconscious autopilot.
Thanks to the modern Head Up Display, excellent infotainment system, and steering wheel-based controls, you can always keep your eyes on the road ahead and we appreciated every aspect of the generous scenery. The GPS communicates efficiently and updates instantly, always ensuring you know where to go and how to get there. For three hours we meandered through the passes, truly grateful we have experiences like these for a living.
Conquering Circuito Monteblanco
Later that same day we found ourselves sitting on the starting grid of Circuito Monteblanco. Built in 2006, this relatively small racetrack was designed to push sports cars and their drivers to their limits. Knowing this vehicle houses a vast array of safety features definitely helped to imbue within us a sense of confidence, as knuckles turned to white on the steering wheel.
As the lights changed to green, we experienced the acceleration and pure power of the 296 GTB in all its glory. Attentively following the pace car in front of us, we put the GTB’s cornering, breaking and overall handling to the test, all the while feeling the g-forces pushing us back into our seats. This Ferrari’s traction control and grip around the corners almost seemed unreal and allowed us to always be in complete control. Reaching our third and final lap, a growing sense of confidence in the vehicle allowed us to put the hammer down and to see what the car is truly capable of. By the time we passed the checked flag, we could not have had more respect for the creators of this supreme racing machine.
On the flight back home, we took stock of all we had experienced in beautiful Sevilla. From the mountains, the track, the people and the food to one of the finest sports cars we have ever had the privilege of test driving. There is no doubt this is an experience we would choose to have again in a heartbeat.
Visit: www.ferrari.com for further information and to locate your nearest Ferrari dealer.