For the first time since 1974, Ferrari is getting back to V6 power. The all-new Berlinetta 296 plug-in hybrid debuts with over 800 horsepower! It is as much rooted in tradition as it is looking forward to an electric future…
Internal combustion V6 and electric power
Maranello has just unveiled the lines and technical data of the new 296 GTB, previously known as “Progetto F171”, which is in fact the first “affordable” electric Ferrari, after the ultra-sporty SF 90 Stradale and LaFerrari. This one initiated the electrification of the range but had to make do with a kinetic energy recovery system, it was not a “hybrid” in the classic sense of the term, with a combination of combustion and electric motors.
The name ‘296’ also refers to the displacement of the six-cylinder engine (2992 cc), while the designation ‘Berlinetta’, a two-seater with a central rear engine, links the newcomer to a house tradition dating back to the mid-1950s. It will replace the F8 Tributo on the production line in 2022, once all of them will have been built. Switching back from a V8 engine to a V6, Ferrari is also following a new trend : the downsizing of supercars, pioneered by McLaren… while offering even higher power figures!
Ferrari produced its first V6 car back in 1961. The 156 Formula One was mid-engined and rear wheel drive. It won the brand’s first manufacturers’ title.
The 246 SP was also V6- engine and won the Targa Florio that year and the next. Closer to us, the F1 126 CK was the first Ferrari fitted with turbos located in the V centre. Its evolution, the 126C2, won the F1 world title in 1982. The V6 turbo engine became the rule in F1 back in 2014.
Regarding street cars, Ferrari marketed a V6 Dino 246 berlinetta from 1969 to 1973 (it was named after the son of the Commendatore, who died in 1956). This engine was also fitted under the bonnet of the Fiat… Dino, coupé and cabriolet and it also powered the Lancia Stratos, world rally champion from 1974 to 1976.
The new 3-litre V6 is part of the F163 engine family, is fitted with two turbochargers and produces 663 bhp at 8,000 rpm- that is 221 bhp per litre, a new record for a production car. The cumulative torque is 740 Nm. The turbos are located between the two banks of cylinders, in a 120° V-shape: this compact assembly reduces the weight of the engine while lowering its centre of gravity. The large opening angle allows for such an arrangement, while reducing the distance the mixture has to travel to reach the combustion chambers.
Despite its supercharging and its relatively small size, the V6 sings like a V12, according to Ferrari ! In fact, it produces the same harmonics as the high frequencies of a naturally aspirated V12. This is the reason why Ferrari’s engineers have nicknamed it the “little V12” : because of its characteristic noise and its performance potential. The engine sound is routed upwards of the catalytic converter and the particulate filter and redirected to the passenger compartment. With a red zone set at 8500 rpm, just like the 812 Superfast, Ferrari obviously focus on driving pleasure: reactions are immediate once the right-hand pedal is depressed. The V6 is mated to an electric motor with double rotors and a single stator, called “MGU-K”.
For the first time on a Ferrari hybrid, it is located at the rear, between the 8-speed dual-clutch sequential gearbox and the internal combustion engine. The two engines communicate via a “TMA” actuator, which allows them to be used together or to select electric power alone… for up to 25 km. In addition, it produces 164 bhp, bringing the total power output to 819 bhp. That’s a good hundred more than the V8-powered F8 Tributo… In order to optimise weight distribution, the 7.45 kWh battery is located under the car.
Very high performance
Top speed is 330 km/h, 0 to 100 km/h is cleared in 2.9 seconds, while 0 to 200 km/h takes just over 7 seconds. The car is 4.56 m long, 1.95 m wide and 1.18 m high, with a 2.60 m wheelbase and weighs 1,485 kg (street version) or 1,470 kg (Assetto Fiorano). The first cars will be delivered in Spring 2022, with prices starting from €269,000 in Italy or, for the more circuit-oriented version called “Assetto Fiorano”, from €302,000. In this case, the car is lightened by… 15 kg, through the installation of carbon body parts. At this price, each kilo less will still cost you €2,200! The suspension will be adjustable and the tyres will be Michelin Sport Cup 2R.