Ferrari 296 GTS: Maranello’s Plug-In V6 Supercar Loses the Roof
The hardtop adds 154 pounds but also a whole lot of unfiltered noise.
You've heard of the 296 GTB, now get ready for the Ferrari 296 GTS, a power-retractable hardtop version of Maranello's plug-in V6 supercar. The S, by the way, stands for "Spider."
The hardtop can open or close in 14 seconds and do so at speeds of up to 28 mph. Arguably, the best reason to get a convertible Ferrari over a coupe would be to hear that exhaust more clearly—and to make sure the 296 GTS is singing its best song, this car's hot-tube exhaust resonator was optimized to suit the roofless setup. The trim behind the headrests was also tweaked to minimize open-top turbulence and funnel air towards the tonneau cover and away from the cabin, while flaps were added to the rear trim to further cut down on buffeting. To compensate for the open top, both A- and B-pillars, as well as the side sills, were stiffened so that torsional rigidity is up by 50 percent while bending stiffness increased by eight percent over the GTB.
Where there's a complication, weight usually isn't far behind and the 296 GTS' hardtop has, according to Ferrari figures, added precisely 154 pounds. As a result, the 3,395-pound GTS is still able to match the lighter GTB's zero-to-62-mph time of 2.9 seconds and top speed of over 205 mph. However, it lags on the run to 124 mph by 0.3 seconds—7.6 seconds versus the GTB's 7.3. The convertible also laps the automaker's Fiorano test track almost a full second slower, setting a time of 1:21.80 while the GTB did it in 1:21 dead. Standard convertible supercar stuff, then.
More notably perhaps, Ferrari was able to design the retractable top in such a way that the car retains a window through which the engine is visible, unlike, say, the Spider versions of the Ferrari F8, 488, or 458. Convertible F430s and 360s from back in the day, however, were able to pull this off.
Peering through said window, you'll find the same mid-mounted, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 out of the GTB. Paired with a plug-in hybrid electric motor, the rear-drive Ferrari 296 boasts a total system output of 818 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque. 654 of those horses, by the way, are produced by the V6—making for an impressive specific output of 218 hp per liter—while the remaining 164 come from the Formula 1-derived, rear-mounted, dual-rotor, single-stator, axial flux electric motor.
That electric motor is able to propel the 296 GTS up to 84 mph solo while the 7.45-kWh battery located on the floor behind the seats is said to be good for 15.5 miles of electric-only driving range.
For customers with an appetite for more track-ready performance, the Ferrari 296 GTS will, like the GTB, be available with an optional Assetto Fiorano pack that throws in adjustable Multimatic track shocks derived from GT race cars, extra carbon aero pieces on the front bumper that add up to 22 pounds of downforce, and more liberal use of carbon overall. The AF pack also unlocks the option to add a 250 LM-inspired livery as well as Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R track tires.
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