The Ferrari 296GTB is the fastest rear-wheel drive car we’ve ever tested
Ferrari’s 819-horsepower V-6 hybrid accelerates to 60 mph in just 2.4 seconds and has one of the fastest stop times from 70 mph.
We’ve corrected our statement that “the 296GTB has the quickest stop time of any car we’ve ever tested,” which is incorrect because the C7 Corvette ZR1 bested it by 3 feet, going from 70 to 0 mph in just 127 feet.
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During preparationFerrari 296 GTB For testing purposes, an interested spectator asked the obvious question: “What engine do you have?” And we were almost hearing it when we said it has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 paired with an electric motor. “Ferrari V-6 hybrid? Not interested.” Oh, and if they saw that it broke our rear-wheel-drive acceleration record, hitting 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and blasting through the quarter in 9.7 second miles, how would their tune change.
The heart of the beast is a 2,992cc V6, a combination that gives the 296 its name. Why not the 306, since 2992 cc goes up to 3.0 litres? In one word: China. The 3.0-litre engine is a no-go domestically from a tax perspective, and Ferrari wants to highlight the fact that this engine is on the happy side of that threshold.
The part that should interest our viewers isTilt angle 120 degrees, giving the V-6 the firing rhythm of the V-12. The results are impressive, especially when the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic begins shifting at the 8,500-rpm redline. The wide V-shape is also a convenient place to install two turbochargers, which all combine to produce an internal combustion power of 654 hp, equivalent to about 219 hp per litre.
But of course that’s not enough, so there’s also a 165-hp AC synchronous electric motor located between the engine and gearbox. It’s connected to a 6.0 kWh battery pack that’s larger than a typical hybrid battery, so it can be plugged in and provide electric-only range. The EPA says the car has an 8-mile range, but after testing the car, we think its real purpose is to ensure the additional 165 electric hp is always ready, increasing total output to 819 hp.
We’ve made two adjustments to the test sequence due to the 296’s powertrain. The first is typical of all electric vehicles: we test acceleration first to take full advantage of electric power. The second is to respect the 296’s traction control system, which learns the sliding characteristics of the test surface. We ditched the usual east-west and east-west rhythm to save time, and instead did all the eastbound runs first, then faced the westbound runs.
Starting a car is simple, but the process has a counter-intuitive feature. With qualifying mode selected, slide the lovely shift switch to manual, apply the brake, and then press the accelerator. The rpm will rise to 3,000, then the standby light comes on and you release the brake. Here’s the weird thing: Even if you equip the system with a manual mode selection, you can’t upshift manually. Launch Control does it for you.
Do things for real
Our successive runs in the same direction steadily improved as the system adapted to the friction of the starting point, but the lead plateaued on the third pass, so our best running numbers came from that point. Not so with running in reverse, which is instantly fast. I think our asphalt testing was more consistent than we thought. Ultimately, the 296GTB two-way average is incredible for any car, let alone an 819-hp rear-drive car that has to push through a pair of 305/35ZR-20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R tires to unleash all the power. .
The GTB accelerates to 60 mph in just 2.4 seconds, headlining the restLamborghini Huracan STO AndMcLaren Artura, a pair of rear-wheel-drive exotics, lasted 2.6 seconds. Next isPorsche 718 Cayman GT4 RSWhich took only 2.8 seconds. But the gap widens from there, with the Ferrari sprinting to 100 mph in 4.7 seconds, almost a second faster than the McLaren and Lambo and a full two seconds ahead of the Porsche. At the quarter-mile, the 296GTB ran 9.7 seconds to 150 mph, well ahead of the second-fastest Artura, which clocked 10.3 seconds to 140 mph.