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Ferrari's new hybrid 296 GTS promises top-down driving thrills

The new Ferrari 296 GTS will go from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 330km/h.
The new Ferrari 296 GTS will go from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 330km/h.
Image: Supplied

Ferrari unveiled on Tuesday the new 296 GTS convertible, its fourth plug-in hybrid model, as the luxury sportscar maker pushes ahead with its electrification strategy.

It follows Ferrari's previous three hybrid models that went into full series production — the SF 90 Stradale in 2019, its convertible version the SF90 Spider in 2020, and last year's 296 GTB.

The 296 GTS is a convertible version, fitted with a retractable hard top, of the existing 296 GTB that in SA sells for a cool R6.38m.

The two cars share most relevant features, including a mid-mounted 2.9l twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine coupled with a 122kW electric motor for a total system output of 610kW and 740Nm — plus a maximum electric-only driving range of 25km.

In terms of performance Ferrari claims that the 296 GTS will dash from 0-100km/h in a mere 2.9 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 330km/h. Deliveries of the new model will start from Europe in early 2023 and the price will be confirmed in due course.

So far Ferrari road cars have been normally powered by V8 or more powerful V12 engines but the company is increasingly reducing the share of highly polluting V12-fitted cars in its production.

The lightweight retractable hardtop takes a mere 14 seconds to retract or deploy at speeds of up to 45km/h.
The lightweight retractable hardtop takes a mere 14 seconds to retract or deploy at speeds of up to 45km/h.
Image: Supplied

Another new model is planned for release in the coming months, the much awaited Purosangue (Thoroughbred). That will be Ferrari's first SUV and bring the company into a lucrative segment where direct rivals such as Volkswagen's Lamborghini are already present.

“I'm confident the Purosangue will exceed our customers' expectations,” CEO Benedetto Vigna said last week.

A tech industry veteran, Vigna took charge of Ferrari last September, with a task to take a brand synonymous with roaring combustion engines into the new era of silent and cleaner electric mobility.

As part of this, Ferrari has already promised its first full-electric model in 2025, while Vigna has already said the company would seek technology partnerships.

More details of Ferrari's electrification strategy are expected on June 16, when Vigna will present his first comprehensive business plan.


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