2022 Ferrari 296 GTB walkaround

2022 Ferrari 296 GTB walkaround

Video Transcript

LAWRENCE ULRICH: Hey, Lawrence Ulrich with Autoblog. And this little cream puff here is the Ferrari 296 GTB. Now Ferrari, from the very beginning with 1940-- let's go back to 1947 with the 125s. They were a V12 company with a 1.5 liter V12 in that car. And they-- for decades, they were the V12 company.

Along come the '70s-- Magnum PI, everyone's favorite hairy chested Ferrari, the 308. Ferrari was suddenly a V8 company. Well, fast forward. V12's are on the verge of extinction. Even V8's are under heavy threat from regulatory pressures and competition from electric motors that deliver even more power and use even less energy.

So what's Ferrari's answer to all this? It's the 296 GTB. This is a historic car. This is the first V6 road car in Ferrari history. And you might say, hey, what about the Dino? Well the Dino, named after Enzo, Ferrari's tragic son, was not officially a Ferrari. That was a Dino badged car. So this is the first official V6 Ferrari.

And if you're thinking this V6 is something you settle for, this is some kind of entry level car, think again. This V6 is an incredible engine. 653 horsepower alone from a 3-liter V6 with a pair of turbochargers that each spin at 180,000 RPM. Now the secret sauce, though is a plug-in hybrid system with another 165 horsepower from an electric motor sandwiched between the mid-engine and the gearbox.

Add it all up and we're looking at 818 horsepower from a 3-liter, six-cylinder car. And what does that mean? That means 2.7 seconds 0 to 60, maybe 7.2 seconds from 0 to 120, and a top speed of around 206 miles an hour.

This car isn't too out there. It's not too extroverted. It's purposeful, but it is elegant and beautiful. Also hearkening back to the Ferraris of the '60s, more than anything of the 250 LM from the '60s with those really big, extruded haunches. But just an elegant car, and so much aerodynamic work and so much technology in this. Let's begin with the front here.

This little section here, this is the tea tray, part of its active aerodynamics. Takes the air, sends it underneath the car, keeps it pinned underneath through vortex generators and out the back. These little headlamps, more little vents. The air comes through here, gets directed around to cool these big brake calipers of a brake-by-wire system that regenerates energy and also helps balance and slow the car.

Come around here. These big wheels, here, [? plaid ?] with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. But you can also get a package, the Fiorano Assetto package that lightens things up, adds more carbon fiber and puts a new version of the Cup 2 Michelins on there-- just racing-slick like performance, but still a street legal tire.

More air work-- air comes over the top. Now there's a vertical windscreen, but it's shoved way up front, so it's really tricky to get the air to go over. So the air tucks under this little arch here and then gets directed down, down, down. Now the air comes over this little virtual fairing, basically pins to the car. Engine intake's here in the rear. And then these big intakes on the sides for the inner coolers.

And then you can see these beautiful, these wing-like haunches of this car. It's just a sexy beast. Rear diffuser here in carbon fiber, another piece of active aero. Instead of your typical rear spoiler that lifts here, this is a little hidden flap here. This rises pretty much straight up, comes up to about here. Like with the SF90 plug-in hybrid, creates downforce.

This can add an extra 100 pounds of downforce at about-- say, about 150 miles an hour. Comes up under braking, whenever downforce is required for the car. Now all this air coming out from the bottom comes up from this diffuser as well and then departs the car. So there's a lot of work to eliminate drag and to boost downforce.

Let's check out the engine here. Here's the 3-liter under this nice, dark tinted glass. They call it the Piccolo V12, the little V12-- and why would anyone say that? It is designed to feel and sound like a Ferrari V12 engine, not a 6. It's got the 120 degree banks with the pair, with the turbos nestled into the middle.

Each bank with its own exhaust outlet that twins down into one long runner and comes out here at this very high mounted exhaust. The exhaust system, made out of pricey in-canal alloy with very, very thin walls-- like, super thin walls. And then another alloy here at the outlet that maintains its shine and brilliance, even under high temperatures.

I have to say, I'm not usually a fan of reds in Ferraris. Just a little bit of a stereotype to me. I think I'm going to make an exception for this one. This is Rosso Imola, named after the Imola race circuit. Just a really elegant, sophisticated shade of red. Kind of a lipstick shade. It's got this really great undertone.

This is a V6 car that's faster on the Fiorano circuit than any current mid-engine V8 berlinetta. That means faster than the F8 Tributo, faster even on track than the 488 Pista-- just incredible to think about. But a short wheelbase car, as well-- 50 millimeter shorter wheelbase than the V8 Berlinetta. So it's got this very compact, wrap-around almost Lotus feel, if you will-- if you picture a Lotus with three times the normal power and a lower center of gravity with the hybrid system.

And just the combination of the V6 shove and that constant boost from the electric power and all rear wheel drive-- so just to get your brain around it, 818 horsepower supercar with a V6 engine and plug-in hybrid capability. Can go about 25 kilometers on electric drive alone. If you're going into a city center-- London might be banning internal combustion cars-- you can cruise silently.

Kick it up into hybrid mode, drive it with electricity and then have the engine fire up when you press the gas. Or then move into performance and qualifying modes for maximum performance, including a qualifying mode that recharges the battery. On our run on public roads today in these beautiful roads in Andalusia, this thing was recharging its battery from empty to full in less than 15 minutes-- a 7.6 kilowatt hour battery.

And there you have it-- the Ferrari 296 GTB. A historic achievement for Ferrari. A V6 road car that's faster than Ferrari V8.