Ferrari 296 GTB draws on new V-6, plug-in hybrid tech to reach new power levels

Ferrari and its rivals are beginning the transition to electrification, with smaller engines coupled to electric motors that produce equal or better performance than gasoline engines alone, but with lower emissions and better mileage.

The new hybrid V-6 powertrain will most likely be used on other future Ferrari models, possibly including the Purosangue, Ferrari’s first SUV, which is due to debut in late 2022. 

The 296 GTB’s V-6, which joins Ferrari’s V-8 and V-12 engine lineup, has a 120-degree angle between the cylinder banks. The two turbochargers are positioned inside the vee, which Ferrari says enables a much more compact package, optimally distributes masses, and maximizes the fluid dynamics and efficiency of the intake and exhaust ducts. Ferrari says it weighs 30 kg less than a comparable V-8. 

The gearbox is an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission already used on Ferrari models such as the SF90 Stradale and SF90 Spider, the Roma and the Portofino M. There are four drive modes: eDrive (electric only), hybrid (default), Performance (gasoline engine is always on) and Qualify, which maximizes performance at the cost of slower charging.

Ferrari said it sought to give the smaller engine the traditional sound of its V-8s and V-12s. “Sound-wise, the 296 GTB harmoniously combines two characteristics that are normally opposed: the force of the turbos and the harmony of the high-frequency notes of a naturally-aspirated V-12,” the brand said.  

Ferrari’s current entry-level sports car, the F8 Tributo, has a 3.9-liter V-8 that produces 710 hp.

Potential competitors for the 296 GTB include the new Maserati MC20, which produces 630 hp from a 3.0-liter V-6, or 210 hp per liter (and will have a full-electric variant); the McLaren Artura, a new V-6 plug-in hybrid model with 671 hp; and the Lamborghini Huracan, which has a conventional powertrain, although Lamborghini is planning to introduce a lineup of plug-in hybrids ahead of future full-electrification.

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