Ferrari 296 GTB review: ‘entry-level’ hybrid supercar taken for a spin

May 04, 2023 by

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Mat drives the plug-in hybrid baby brother to the SF90 hypercar to see if better value

Ferrari 296 GTB specs

  • Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 w/ one electric motor
  • Power: 830hp
  • Top speed: upwards of 205mph
  • 0-60mph: 2.9 seconds
  • Price: £241,550 (before options)

Ferrari 296 GTB design

Supercars always seemingly have to out-do each other in one way or another. But few have the aura over history that Ferraris do – well most of them anyway. The new 296 GTB is no different and takes cues from the world-beating SF90 hypercar, but on a slightly smaller scale.

With only a small amount of active aero – in the form of a moving rear flap that improves stability at higher speeds and acts as an airbrake when braking – the 296 GTB takes advantage of a series of inlets and fins on the underside to channel the air. That combination results in a sleek car that has lots of vents on the front – all of which have a purpose and add to the aggressive design.

Those vents and underfloor fins are all fitted to aid the streamlining of the 296, helping to make it as aerodynamic and stable as possible when you’re driving quickly.

The sharp nose has lots of presence, while the slippery shape makes the 296 GTB one of Ferrari’s best-looking cars for some time.

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But the best angle is arguably the rear. You get the flat deck cover for the twin-turbo V6 engine, the aforementioned wing across the upper part and the central outlet for the twin exhaust.

It’s certainly got an excellent stance and for Ferrari’s entry-level supercar, it’s a very aggressive-looking thing.

Ferrari 296 GTB interior

As you would expect from a Ferrari, the cabin is as sporty as the exterior. But it’s not perfect.

You get good seats that hold you when you’re driving aggressively, yet are still comfortable, while the optional steering wheel with the carbon fibre finish and shift lights is excellent too. The driver’s display that also acts as the infotainment system is clear to the eye, and is configurable too.

But this is where the GTB is compromised slightly. The touch-sensitive controls for the infotainment on the steering wheel are fiddly to say the least, while you use similar controls to adjust the wing mirrors. You also don’t get a lot of storage points around, with nets behind the seats the best of the selection, and there are some minor issues with the quality of the finish too.

If you can put up with these foibles though, the 296’s cabin is comfortable and cocooning – a perfect combination for a supercar.

Ferrari 296 GTB driving

The Ferrari 296 GTB has a wonderful combination of being approachable most of the time and ferocious when you’re on the limit.

When cruising around town, you have the option to just use the electric motor – only for a range of 16 miles though. For most day-to-day driving you’ll leave the car in hybrid mode, which seamlessly switches between petrol and electric power. It’s responsive and gives you plenty of exciting punch when getting you up to speed.

But when you flick the steering wheel-mounted manettino switch into performance mode, the 296 becomes an even more nimble supercar that’s super sharp and composed – even on rougher British roads. The suspension, while firm, soaks up a lot of the bumps and ruts you’ll find on a twisty B-road and the chassis is very balanced so you have all the confidence to enjoy it.

To get the full beans, put the car in qualifying mode. In other modes, electric power is held back in the name of efficiency, but not here. You get the full 830hp from the 3.0-litre V6 and rear-mounted electric motor for 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed over 205mph. It’s exhilarating and a wonderful Ferrari to drive.

Ferrari 296 GTB verdict

As the ‘entry-level’ Ferrari, it’s a truly excellent car, and for us, it’s the best Ferrari currently on sale. If you can, you should buy the 296 GTB to get a wonderful hybrid supercar experience.

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