With its ‘first ever’ V6, Ferrari rewrites the supercar rulebook for the modern age.

What we love
  • Stunning twin-turbo V6 soundtrack
  • Otherwordly performance and handling
  • Simply stunning design

What we don’t
  • Electric range of 25km is, um, yeah…
  • Very busy steering wheel
  • And that’s about it…

Any doubts about Ferrari having neutered its latest creation by shoving a V6 amidships are dispelled as soon as the first time the 2022 Ferrari 296 GTB rumbles past. There’s a sonorous engine note crushing the air; a thunder of combustion that serves as a reminder that the gradual and inevitable demise of petrol power will one day leave a black hole in the automotive landscape. Today is not that day.

Ferrari isn’t going down without a fight, imbuing its “first ever” (Ferrari’s words, not mine) V6 with a soundtrack that is at once a celebration of all that is good and right with supercars.

The Ferrari 296 GTB represents a new chapter in the Prancing Horse’s history: a plug-in hybrid designed to encapsulate the very essence of what it means to be a Ferrari in the modern age.

Ferrari dabbled its electric toes in the hybrid waters with LaFerrari before casting the die properly with its SF90 hypercar; a plug-in hybrid tour de force with its 2.5sec 0–100km/h and staggering 7.0sec 0–200km/h claims.

Now it’s the turn of the latest electrified supercar in Maranello’s line-up and this one is – relatively, at least – a whole lot more palatable.

Ferrari, for its part, is trumpeting the marque’s first ever V6 engine. A telling reminder that the iconic Dino 206 and 246 of the 1960s and ’70s are not Ferraris, despite what today’s auction catalogues and eye-watering prices might tell you.

The buy-in for the Ferrari 296 GTB starts at $568,300 (plus on-road costs) with local deliveries expected to start in the final quarter of 2022. No doubt a swag of personalisation options will add some hefty dollars to the bottom line. Details remain scarce for now, other than the $73,299 Assetto Fiorano package which, unless you value exclusivity and are wanting to unleash Ferrari’s latest Berlinetta on the track, is to our mind unnecessary, the base car all the 296 GTB you’ll ever need. It’s a lot of car.

It’s a noticeably smaller car than, say, its nearest direct comparison – the Ferrari F8 Tributo – measuring in at 4565mm long, 1958mm wide, 1187mm tall, and with a wheelbase of 2600mm, the last measurement 50mm shorter than the Tributo’s.

It’s a looker, too, drawing inspiration from the iconic 1963 Ferrari 250 LM. The wide haunches with its gaping air intakes are complemented by flying buttresses that house the upright rear windscreen; a design that is at once retrospective and practical. It’s a long time since we’ve sat in a Ferrari with rearward visibility as good as this one.

The side profile has a hint of Lancia Stratos, particularly the way the door windows lead into the B-pillar. From the back, the centrally mounted exhaust serves a purpose other than aesthetic, while a new tail-light design eschews Maranello’s traditional twin circular set-up in favour of a modern and slimline linear arrangement.

2022 Ferrari 296 GTB
Seats Two
Boot volume 198L
Length 4565mm
Width 1958mm
Height 1187mm
Wheelbase 2600mm

Under the blackened glass engine cover (for those wanting to ogle the engineering that has gone into this car, you get clear Lexan glass with the Assetto Fiorano package) lives the beating heart of the 296 GTB. It’s an all-new engine, a twin-turbo V6 with a displacement of 2992cc that gives the 296 GTB its name. Following Ferrari’s long-running nomenclature – ‘29’ or 2.9 litres, ‘6’ for six-cylinder, and GTB for Gran Turismo Berlinetta.

On its own, the V6 makes 478kW and 740Nm, and on its own that would be plenty enough for a thrilling driving experience. The twin turbochargers are nestled neatly inside the 120-degree vee of the 2.9-litre V6; packaging that, according to Ferrari, makes for better response times thanks to the shorter amount of travel the forced air requires to reach the combustion chambers. The turbos are marginally smaller than those found in the F8 Tributo and spin at an eye-watering 180,000 revolutions per minute.

An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sends drive exclusively to the rear wheels. But, because 478kW and 740Nm aren’t enough, an electric motor fed by a 7.45kWh battery adds some zing to the motivation to the tune of 122kW and 315Nm. Together, the turbo V6 and the axial flux electric motor provide 610kW at 8000rpm and 740Nm at 6250rpm.

It all adds up to straight-line performance that’s truly staggering. How staggering? Try 0–100km/h in 2.9 seconds and an even more astonishing 0–200km/h time of just 7.3 seconds. Top speed is rated at around 330km/h.

Remember, this is a V6 and not a monster V12 doing the heavy lifting. Not that you’ll notice too much difference. Before being handed the reins of the Prancing Horse’s latest, the Ferrari engineering team at the car’s international launch in Spain were keen to showcase the 296’s sonic credentials.

It was important, they said, that the turbo V6 should sound like a Ferrari is expected to sound – angry, powerful, aggressive. A lot of work went into achieving this aim and the result is a triumph, the 296 GTB’s soundtrack more like a V12 than any six we’ve ever heard. Internally – and informally – Ferrari’s engineering team calls the engine ‘Piccolo V12’ – little V12 – and they are right.

At idle, a throaty grumble hints at the screaming 8500rpm redline howl waiting for your aural senses to be assaulted. Hit redline, and on-track you can and do, the wail from the V6 just behind your ears is blood-curdlingly grand; a mechanical symphony Beethoven would be proud of. If Ludwig van wrote in firing order and combustion chambers…

It’s telling that after every session in the car, including a four-hour-long road loop and a morning session at the Circuito Monteblanco, the first question our resident powertrain engineer asks is “What did you think of the sound?”. It’s that important to them.

But a deep and thrilling soundtrack is but one party trick, and dwelling on it too long does a disservice to the rest of the 296 GTB’s powertrain that is so well-rounded and so finely balanced, it’s hard to imagine why you would need anything bigger or more powerful.

And ironically, despite that glorious V6 soundtrack, when you slide inside and press the engine start button on the steering wheel you are greeted by, well, nothing. Yes, we’ve become accustomed to silent start-ups, but this is a Ferrari and not a Camry, and the expectation of a bark and a snarl when hitting the ignition is ingrained, eliciting an almost Pavlovian response.

But, where once a bank of grumbling cylinders heralded the start of something special, now a space-age whine reminds you this is the future of motoring.

2022 Ferrari 296 GTB
ANCAP rating Untested
Safety report N/A

Ferrari says the 7.45kWh battery pack can provide up to 25km of pure-electric motoring, which isn’t ground-breaking. It is enough, however, to sneakily crawl through European city centres with their zero emissions and, increasingly in some instances, stringent noise controls. But, before you start to think that all sounds a bit half-baked, it’s worth noting that the 296’s ability to regenerate power is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

At a glance 2022 Ferrari 296 GTB
Warranty Three years / unlimited km
Service intervals N/A
Servicing costs N/A

It doesn’t rely purely on braking or coasting. Instead, simply driving with that glorious V6 howling just behind your ears harvests electrons at an alarmingly fast rate. And, incongruously, it seems the harder the 296 GTB is being driven, the more and the faster the electrons are fed back into the admittedly small battery array. One quick 40km blast at full noise through the Andalusian mountain passes that skirt the southern city of Seville in Spain saw the range jump from zero to half-full – plenty of juice to sneak back home to the ‘burbs and into the driveway without anyone noticing.

But, no-one drives a Ferrari, any Ferrari, to be quiet and unobtrusive. If that’s your thing, buy a Camry. Instead, a Ferrari announces its arrival with a snarl and a presence that ancient mariners standing on the shores of Lake Temptation would find hard to resist.

Fuel Usage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) N/A
Fuel cons. (on test) N/A
Fuel type 98RON Premium Unleaded
Fuel tank size 65L

Inside, the 296 GTB looks remarkably familiar, borrowing a swag of elements from its SF90 sibling. This includes the multi-function steering wheel resplendent with haptic buttons controlling a swag of functions and features that work well sometimes, but at other times are infuriatingly clumsy and slow.

The digital driver display doubles as the 296’s infotainment screen (there’s no dedicated screen), and while configurable to taste, it crams a lot into what should, to our mind, remain dedicated to driving information. It’s a small misstep, and one we’d venture buyers of this car would give less than 0.25sec thought to.

The quality of materials is up to Ferrari’s usual excellent standard, as are the fit and the finish, while a retro-styled ‘gated’ gear selector looks the business and offers a gentle nod to Ferraris of yesteryear.

The steering wheel is a busy place, with a host of haptic control pads that control everything from windscreen wipers to electric drive modes, indicators and engine start, as well as toggling through the myriad screens on offer in the driver display.

There’s also Ferrari’s signature – and analogue – Manettino dial for selecting drive modes. The whole ensemble can be overwhelming at times, but we’d venture you could get used to it. Large steering column-mounted paddle-shifters complete the set-up.

The seats are nicely comfortable, too, and finding the ideal driving position is easy. Although, for a car costing north of $600,000 to come equipped with manual seat adjustment is a bit of an insult. Same goes for steering wheel adjustment, with a regular lever releasing the tiller to allow for the ideal driving position.

Key details 2022 Ferrari 296 GTB
Engine 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 plug-in hybrid
Power 478kW @ 8000rpm (V6 only)
Torque 740Nm @ 6250rpm (V6 only)
Power 610kW (combined)
Torque 740Nm (combined)
Drive type Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power to weight ratio N/A
Weight 1470kg (dry)
0-100km/h 2.9 seconds
0-200km/h 7.3 seconds
Top Speed 330km/h (approx)

It matters little, though, once the engine start button is depressed. The default start-up mode is Hybrid, and while it drives just like a regular hybrid at speeds of up to 135km/h using pure electrons, a firmer stab of the accelerator will spark the V6 into life with a bark and growl that is pure Ferrari.

Other modes on the eManettino include eDrive for pure-electric driving at a range of up to 25km, Performance where the V6 does all the work with no intervention from the electric motor, and Qualify where the electric motor and turbo V6 combine for all-out performance.

That’s on top of the analogue Manettino dial that toggles through Wet, Sport, Race, CT Off and ESC Off modes to offer varying levels of intervention from the electronic nannies that work hard to keep the 296 GTB on the straight and narrow.

With the eManettino set to Hybrid and the Manettino to Sport, both what one would consider relatively ‘safe’ settings, the 296 GTB still presents as a tour de force on the road.

There’s something incongruous about hitting the signposted 120km/h limit on Spain’s motorway network using just the electric motor. But, while Hybrid remains a novelty, the lure of that glorious V6 soon consigns greenie mode to memory. Instead, the ferocious acceleration afforded by the 2.9-litre V6 offers surprise and delight with its predictability and performance.

Straight-line acceleration is from another planet, the 296 nudging the speed limit before you’ve even had a chance to take stock. But, unlike the unwieldy ferocity some supercars display, the GTB remains composed, manageable and entirely predictable.

The eight-speed dual-clutch, when using the paddle-shifters, is razor-sharp in its precision, helping to propel the small coupe towards the horizon at an alarming rate. Make no mistake, this is a quick car, underscored by it earning the fourth-fastest-ever lap around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, its 1min 21sec bested only by the SF90 (1min 19sec), LaFerrari (1min 19.7sec) and 812 Competizione (1min 20sec). For context, that 1980s halo and once the fastest production car in the world, the Ferrari F40, managed a pedestrian 1min 29.6sec back in 1987.

Straight-line speed is one thing, but the way the 296 GTB conducts itself on challenging and twisting back roads is another thing entirely. Its ferocious acceleration comes to the fore when sling-shotting car and driver from corner to corner at a rate that seems reckless but isn’t.

Everything remains perfectly balanced: acceleration, grip, stability, steering and braking all work together in an intoxicating blend of automotive goodness that almost defies reason. The underlying feeling is that this is an easy car to drive quickly. Whereas some supercars feel like they want to overpower you, the 296 GTB remains composed, predictable and overwhelmingly rapid.

That feeling is only enhanced on the track where the 296 GTB – this time wearing the Assetto Fiorano pack – is happy to explore the limits, both your own and the car’s, with an ease that’s simply staggering.

It’s an easy car to drive, and drive quickly, never leaving you with the feeling that you’re barely hanging on to its limits. Instead, the 296 GTB invites you to push on. The confidence it inspires with its handling. Its brake-by-wire system that has been designed to encourage diving deeper and deeper into corners. And its excellent but not overbearing traction systems that allow for playful slippage at the rear while always keeping a maternal eye on things.

Rip it out of the final third-gear corner before Monteblanco’s long straight, and let that glorious twin-turbo V6 howl out to its 8500rpm redline, and you’ll hit seventh gear and 268km/h in the blink of an eye, before stomping on the forgiving brakes while barely raising a sweat for the second-gear 50km/h right-hander. Every. Single. Time.

It’s a marvellous piece of Maranello engineering, the Ferrari 296 GTB; a supercar for the modern age that defies logic. Its hybrid powertrain does enough to keep the regulators happy, while that glorious V6 redefines what a bent-six ought to be, indeed can be. And those decrying the loss of cylinders need not worry.

The Ferrari 296 GTB is every bit the real Ferrari, and one that rewrites the supercar rulebook. Its compact dimensions wrapped inside a heart-achingly beautiful exterior design, its bellowing soundtrack, prodigious performance and handling, all come together in a package that doesn’t merely assault the senses, but redefines them.

The Ferrari 296 GTB is remarkable in its complexity and even more remarkable for its simplicity.

Ratings Breakdown

8.9/ 10


Handling & Dynamics

Driver Technology

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Fuel Efficiency

Value for Money

Fit for Purpose

Rob Margeit

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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