Maranello gives the new mid-engined hybrid Maranello the drop-top treatment with no performance penalty
Ferrari 296 GTS, an open-top version their new hybrid mid-engined supercar, is a rival to the McLaren 720S Spider’s 819bhp. It also boasts “class-leading levels” of driver engagement.
Maranello will unveil two new models this year. The Ferrari Purosangue SUV is also due to be revealed in the next few months. It was shown in metal at a preview event at Le Mans 24 Hours where the company announced its return to racing with a prototype hypercar racer.
Ferrari tradition dictates that the Ferrari 296 GTB hardtop and its convertible sibling have minimal differences. They are mainly due to minor styling changes to accommodate the opening roof.
The silhouettes of the cars are almost identical. However, the retractable hardtop – a similar setup to the Ferrari SF90 Spider – is stored in a new compartment inside the engine compartment, behind each seat.
Matteo Turconi is the product marketing manager for Ferrari’s models of sports cars. He said that packaging a folding hard top was difficult with Ferrari’s switch to hybrid power, but one the engineering team had successfully overcome. The roof takes up space so where would you put the battery? He said.
“We placed it in the same place as the coupe, under the rear bench. However, with this car we optimised the battery so that we still had enough luggage space behind the rear bench. This is extremely important.
Reworked rear deck of the 296 has included sculpted buttresses, a prominent step between the roofed and distinctive aero bridge that spans the length of the car and a new step between them. The rear screen can be adjusted to provide comfort for passengers at high speeds when the roof is down.
The subtle makeover creates “an extremely compact cabin seamlessly integrated with the wings, flanks and flanks.”
Aerodynamic efficiency is equal to downforce. Ferrari engineers have taken care to replicate the impact of the wing, buttresses and wings on the airflow. There is also an active rear spoiler that is stowed in tail. This increases downforce at speed.
It takes only 14 seconds to open and close the roof at speeds up to 28 mph. The roof splits into two sections that cover the front of your engine, “preserving the engine bay’s thermal distortion characteristics and the balance in the overall design.”
The GTB’s powertrain can be used wholesale. It features a 654bhp 3.0-litre twin turbocharged V6 and a Yasa-sourced rear-mounted, electric motor of 164bhp. This combines with the engine and gearbox to increase the outputs to 819bhp (and 546lb ft.
The 296 GTS can go from 0-62mph to 205mph in 2.9sec. This is despite the convertible’s dry weight of 1540kg, which is 70 kg more than the coupe. Turconi stated that the convertible can reach speeds of 205 mph without the roof down but noise and comfort will be affected by wind speeds above 112 mph. It can travel 16 miles using only electric power.
Both on track and road, they are closely related dynamically. Turconi stated that they were only at the “very limit” of track driving when the two differed in handling and responses. The GTS’s extra weight and stiffness would be able to tell.
The GTS can also be ordered with the track-oriented Assetto Fiorano option. This package, named after Ferrari’s Maranello test circuit, includes Multimatic adjustable shock absorbers, carbonfibre aero, trim elements, and other weight-saving measures. It also comes with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R tyres.
Turconi stated that the package included more than just upgrades. It also offered buyers a variety of custom options, such as paint colours, wheel designs and liveries.
In reference to the 308 GTS in the 1970s, the GTS name was preferred over Spider. Turconi stated that the profile of the 296 GTS was more Targa-like than that of a traditional Spider one.
The GTS is priced at EUR320,000 in Europe (PS273,000). This will likely be higher in the UK due to the standard specification UK cars that it will be available with.