The 296 GTB saw a radical evolution brewing within Ferrari as it comes to terms with the tougher regulations and a more environmentally friendly outlook expected from supercar manufacturers. The 296 is the result of that and while it is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), at heart it is the same racy Prancing Horse- albeit with a tinge of environmental consciousness. The GTS version delivers the same experience but with the volume turned up in terms of having no barriers between the V6 engine and you. The Ferrari 296 GTS is a new way of looking at the mid-rear-engined two-seater Berlinetta spider recipe while it is also the first 6-cylinder roof-less Ferrari. The car’s name combines its total displacement (2992 l) and a number of cylinders with the GTS (Gran Turismo Spider) acronym in typical Ferrari tradition. V6 engines obviously go back to the iconic Dino 156 F2 single-seater.
Back to the 296 GTS and the sensuous curves of the standard 296 bode well within the confines of a convertible hard-top. The retractable hardtop in the 296 GTS takes a mere 14 seconds to retract or deploy at speeds of up to 45km/h. A turbocharged V6 works together with an electric motor while it is also a silent Prancing Horse when you need it to be; thanks to its 25km all-electric range. Despite being a V6, the sonorous qualities of a typical Ferrari powertrain have been preserved while it is also called “piccolo V12” (little V12) along with an 8500repm rev limit. In other words, it’s a Ferrari motor alright but with the added benefit of turbocharging. Plus removing the roof hasn’t meant having any aerodynamic issues with the same downforce and also getting the solidity of a hard-top instead of a fragile soft-top. Like the coupe, the myriad of complex systems and features cherry-picked from Ferraris tech laboratories have been grafted in to provide a razor-sharp driving experience.
Design-wise, the need to store the roof posed challenges yet the 296 GTS has a new tonneau cover while also sporting two flying buttresses in a nod to the 250 Le Mans archetype. It’s the Prancing Horse doffing off its imaginary hat to its illustrious predecessors yet without being overly retro. It has the proportions of a classic Ferrari spider while the softer lines over the coupe further enhance the beauty of the 296. The cabin gets diapason-style seats while the all-new Ferrari digital interface provides a serious driving environment along with a simple undertone. When turned off, the interior is removed from clutter and the various touch surfaces go blank for a clean look. Of course, you get Italian leather trim and the usual luxuries that you expect from a luxury sports car. The 296 GTS Assetto Fiorano package meanwhile goes for more weight reduction via its carbon-fiber trim for both cabin and exterior while sporting a new aggressive hue draped in a slight motorsport-like vibe.
Expect a significant premium over the coupe but this is undeniably one of the prettiest convertibles out there right now- along with some real firepower! We suspect the GTS to be the more popular version now over the coupe due to some markets having an affinity for open-top motoring. The 296 GTS replaces the earlier Tributo in away while showcasing that Ferrari is very much at the top of its game right now…