Ferrari 296 GTB Short on Range, Long on Power

The new Ferrari 296 GTB is a plug-in hybrid sports car offering 16 miles of electric driving range and 818 horsepower. (Ferrari)

Ferrari is staking a claim that we now live in the age of the V6. That’s because the Italian sports car company revealed an all-new, plug-in-hybrid model this week with a 6-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Together, they provide 818 horsepower.

The new plug-in hybrid Ferrari is called the 296 GTB. It represents an “authentic revolution” for Ferrari, the company says, a way to get tremendous performance from electricity and not just the 8- and 12-cylinder powerplants for which the company is known.

Ferrari has used V6 engines on some vehicles since the 1950s, and the rear-wheel drive 296 GTB is not the first time Ferrari has employed hybrid technology. The new Ferrari SF90 has a plug, for example. But the combination of the gas-powered V6 and electricity is giving the automaker reason to tout performance benefits without using the most gas-guzzling engine option as the example. Ferrari said this drivetrain can “deliver previously unthinkable performance levels and an innovative, exhilarating and unique soundtrack.”

GTB stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta and the numbers in the car's name are based not only on the V6 engine’s six cylinders but also the car’s total displacement of 2,992 cubic centimeters. Perhaps the company didn’t want to highlight another number here, as a fully charged Ferrari 296 GTB only offers about 16 miles of all-electric driving range from its 7.45-kWh capacity battery, when used in all-electric eDrive mode.

Ferrari 296 GTB Short on Range, Long on Power

Ferrari gives the new 296 GTB a minimalistic interior design with a strong focus on the driver. (Ferrari)

Ferrari is not pretending that zero-emissions driving is the main reason to buy a mid-engined 296 GTB. The company highlights the plug-in hybrid’s racing and track bona fides through the availability of a high-performance Assetto Fiorano package, which lightens the car by using carbon fiber and offers modifications to the aerodynamics, among other changes. The company is also saying that this Ferrari V6 engine sets a new record for specific torque output for a production car at 221 hp per liter.

Style-wise, the 296 GTB’s short wheelbase gives it a compact berlinetta look with “very muscular wings” and “robust flying buttresses” emphasizing the sleek design. Inside, the 296 GTB's cockpit uses an all-digital interface that debuted on the SF90 Stradale. The screens go dark as the car turns off to emphasize the minimalist interior, Ferrari says.

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