The Ferrari F8 Tributo is by no means inadequate for a supercar, and its 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8’s 710 horsepower is still far too much for some drivers to handle. But even in the world of high-dollar exotics, V8s increasingly seem like engines without much of a future—a conundrum for a carmaker whose volume sellers have used the configuration since the 1970s. The only answer, clearly, is to downsize, which Maranello has done with the new hybridized 2022 Ferrari 296 GTB, the company’s first V6 road car in 47 years.
At the heart of Ferrari’s latest mid-engined masterpiece is a 2.992-liter, 120-degree V6 which houses a pair of turbochargers in the V of its aluminum alloy block. Spinning as high as 8,500 rpm, this V6 generates up to 654 horsepower, which ranks middle-of-the-pack among its V6-powered competitors the 2022 Maserati MC20 and 2022 McLaren Artura.
The 296 GTB, however, can also call upon the aid of an electric motor, one which pulls juice from a sub-floor, 7.45-kWh battery to travel up to 15.5 miles on electric power alone. More importantly for a supercar showdown, it can also dump 164 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque into the eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission, for a combined output of 819 horse and 546 pound-feet to send to the rear wheels. These can push the 296 GTB from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 204 mph.
Despite the extra electronics, the 296 GTB reportedly comes in just 77 pounds heavier than the F8 Tributo, for a dry weight of 3,241 pounds. Conversely, the 296 is more compact than the F8, at about two inches shorter in body and wheelbase, with an engine mounted almost two inches lower in its aluminum frame. That chassis can extend an active rear wing, which at 155 mph generates 220 pounds of downforce, or more than a quarter the 794 pounds it generates at that speed.
This presses the 296 into the tarmac through four-corner double-wishbone suspension damped with magnetic shocks that can be traded for Multimatic units, which are available as part of the Assetto Fiorano package. That introduces carbon fiber aero components, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, and a composite rear window, which together trim some 26 pounds from the curb weight.
Another 15 pounds can be shed by carbon fiber wheels, and if you’re in for a penny with a brand-new Ferrari in the first place, you might as well be in for the proverbial extra pound. Said penny is a pretty one, too, as the 2022 Ferrari 296 GTB is reported to start at close to $320,000.
There is some debate as to whether the 296 GTB is on deck to outright replace the F8 Tributo—Autocar and Evo report no, whereas MotorTrend‘s Jonny Lieberman agrees with rumors circulating the internet and insists that’s a yes. Ferrari’s own executive, however, goes on to say that each model in its lineup has its own positioning (target demographic) and that the 296 GTB “is not replacing any other model.”
The way I see it, Maranello’s clients likely won’t mind having one more option to spend their money on.
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