Ferrari 296 GTS debuts as sun-loving spider with a hybrid twist

Published Apr 20, 2022


Maranello - If you’re a fan of the Ferrari 296 GTB but soaking up the sun on your Sunday drive is also on the wish list then you’ll be pleased to know that there is now an open-top GTS version of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined sports car.

Unlike most other premium carmakers Ferrari is not gravitating back to soft top solutions for its convertible and thus the 296 GTS features a two-piece retractable hard top. This roof can be deployed or retracted in just 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45km/h.

Not only does this roof design mirror the aesthetic of the GTB tin-top when it’s in place, but its clever two-piece configuration allows it to stow in front of the engine, which means you can still view the mid-rear-mounted V6 through a glass engine cover at the back of the sportscar.

We’d love to say that the open-air format also allows you to hear the engine in all its glory, but given the times we’re living in, that’s going to depend on what driving mode you’ve selected.

That’s because the Ferrari 296 GTS features the same plug-in hybrid powertrain as the 296 GTB, which pairs a 488kW 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with a 122kW electric motor for a system output of 610kW, which goes to the back wheels only. While the petrol motor can still rev up to a giddy 8000rpm, in eDrive mode the vehicle can cover up to 25km on electric power only, according to Ferrari, at speeds of up to 135km/h.

There are also Hybrid and Performance modes to help you find the right balance between speed and efficiency, while the Qualify setting prioritises maximum performance at the cost of battery recharging. In this mode you can expect 100km/h to come up in just 2.9 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 330km/h.

With a dry weight of 1540kg, the Ferrari 296 GTS comes with a 70kg weight penalty over its GTB sibling, thanks to the roof mechanism and the extra structural reinforcements that are required. The rear-biased weight distribution remains identical though, at 40.5% front and 59.5% rear.

When it comes to handling and overall balance, Ferrari is promising “class-leading levels of driver engagement” thanks to architectural solutions like a shorter wheelbase and lighter V6 engine, as well as a chassis that’s been optimised for the GTS to ensure torsional rigidity and bending stiffness is superior to previous spider models.

Considerable thought has gone into aerodynamics as well and to that end the vehicle makes use of many innovative solutions. These include an active rear spoiler inspired by the LaFerrari and a ‘tea tray’ incorporated in the front bumper which creates “an extremely coherent and energised vortex that is directed below the underbody”. This ultimately produces a high level of suction which improves downforce over the front axle.

Ferrari is also offering a more hardcore Assetto Fiorano package, which uses lighter-weight components (which reduce overall weight by 8kg) as well as track-biased shock absorbers and high downforce carbon-fibre appendages on the front bumper. Furthermore, buyers can opt for a special livery inspired by the 250 Le Mans car.

The 296 GTS’s cabin adopts an entirely digital layout as per the SF90, however in this case interior designers have tried to maintain a more traditional and minimalistic atmosphere. For instance, when the engine is switched off, the instruments are blacked out.

“The 296 GTS flanks the 296 GTB in redefining the whole 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,” Ferrari concludes.

South African availability and pricing have yet to be announced.


IOL Motoring