Ferrari has returned with yet another PHEV, the 2022 GTB 296, for all those of you who reside within the venn diagram of supercar lovers and electric drive enthusiasts. This time, though, it’s showing off the first production car to come from Maranello with a turbocharged V6 hybrid drivetrain, which has been standard on its Formula 1 cars for years now.
Ferrari is taking a pretty neat approach with the drivetrain for its new PHEV. The power will be split between the electric motor and the V6, with the electric motor making 165 horsepower and the combustion engine making 654 HP, for a total of 819 HP.
It’s worth noting that the fully-electric range of this Ferrari plug-in hybrid likely won’t be much better than the carmaker’s previous hybrid, the SF90 Stradale. Ferrari specifies that the SF90 guarantees an all-electric range of 25 kilometers, or nearly 16 miles. The EPA EV range for its all-electric operation was only eight miles.
Ferrari says that this new 296 GTB will also have an all-electric range of 25 kilometers, and I’m a bit suspicious. Sure, Ferrari’s two PHEVs are very different where power is concerned — the SF90 has a twin-turbo V8 — so it’s possible that the new hybrid will have better range, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m not very optimistic, though, and I think that the company won’t make any significant advances to the range of its electric drivetrains until it finally debuts its BEV (hopefully) in 2025.
The other noteworthy thing about this PHEV, of course, is its drivetrain layout. This nearly-flat engine is a 120-degree V6, and it’s turbocharged, with both turbos sitting in that very wide valley between the cylinder heads. The hot-vee format is one way to get better throttle response out of those twin turbos, and its layout leaves a lot of room for them, cradled over the cylinder banks.
Together with the electric motor, this hot-vee engine makes a total of 819 HP. That’s a lot less than the 986 horses of the SF90, but, again, that was a V8. It’s really not that bad, though, as the 0-60MPH time for the 296 GTB is an impressive 2.9 seconds, versus the 2.5 seconds of the more powerful SF90.
Ferrari is also making big claims about the 296 GTB’s handling improvements, mostly because the wheelbase is almost two inches shorter than that of its other “mid-rear-engined berlinettas.”
This improves the car’s handling so much that Ferrari finally gave in to the old cliché about go-kart handling. That’s an over-used way of bragging about handling, but I just love that the Italian carmaker is comparing its expensive car to something like the lowly (but beloved) go-kart.
Also, that shorter wheelbase doesn’t just make for a more agile supercar, but for a prettier one, too. Ferraris are icons in the world of motorsport but their styling had gotten a bit out of hand lately.
The 296 GTB dials back the styling and winds up being the most beautiful Ferrari in a long time. The 296 has smoother lines and a simpler profile than other recent supercars, and makes the name (a throwback to V6-powered Dino race cars from around 1960) work. The roofline traces a near-perfect slope from the front three-quarter view, leading to the wide rear fender and that gaping vent. I would make fun of the jarring effect, but I can’t because the 296 is gorgeous.
In the classic red finish, anyway. There will be another finish available with the Assetto Fiorano package featuring yellow and gray, and, uh, it’s not my favorite.
It makes the simple wedge design of the 296 go from uncomplicated to cartoonish, very fast. I’m getting strong Howard the Duck vibes from that paint finish. If you’re one of the lucky drivers that goes out and buys one of these, stick with the red.