There hadn't been a V6-engined Ferrari since the '70s Dino. Then the 296 GTB coupe was launched last year with its unique 819-horsepower PHEV twin-turbo V6, and now we are going to review the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTS that recently arrived in the USA as the latest addition to the 296 range. It's an open-top GTB but, being Ferrari, this is not a normal convertible but a lightweight retractable hard top that deploys or stows in just 14 seconds. The 2023 296 GTS - or Gran Turismo Spider - is a bit heavier than the GTB, but its performance is hardly diminished. The small battery provides an all-electric range of eight miles, yet with the roof down and that 8,500-rpm screaming V6 right behind you, you're in motoring heaven. The GTS treatment exacts a significant $30k penalty, and with its near-$370k price, the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTS is more expensive than the F8 Spider. A like-minded V6 turbocharged convertible rival is the significantly cheaper Maserati MC20 Cielo, though it's not a hybrid. You could compare it to the hybrid McLaren Artura, too, but it's not a convertible, which leaves the 296 GTS in a class of its own.
The new Ferrari 296 GTS convertible is a fresh entry in the market. It shares the GTB coupe's 819-hp hybrid powertrain with its lightweight 6-kWh battery but gains a hard-top convertible roof that raises or lowers in just 14 seconds at up to 28 mph. The mechanism adds 154 pounds to the car, but this doesn't noticeably affect performance and the sprint to 60 mph still takes 2.9 seconds. There are a few other differences, such as the GTS's unique seats and a few changes to options availability. Ferrari has gone to great trouble to reduce buffeting on the move with the top down.
The 296 GTS hard-top convertible is new for 2023 and the second body style in the 296 lineup after the GTB coupe. It uses the GTB's brand-new 120-degree twin-turbocharged V6 engine and plug-in hybrid assistance, making the 296 twins the first V6 Ferraris since the Dino. The 296 is only the second hybrid Ferrari after the V8 SF90 from three years ago. The GTS variant shares the vast majority of its specs and features with the GTB.
The Ferrari 296 GTS is a single trim level, using the same twin-turbocharged V6 engine and hybrid system as the GTB coupe, with 819 hp and 546 lb-ft of torque, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It rides on 20-inch alloy wheels that hide standard carbon-ceramic brakes, and comes with automatic LED headlights with integrated air intakes, keyless entry, push-button start, and that hard-top convertible roof that drops in 14 seconds.
Interior features include four-way powered and leather-trimmed seats, a power tilting/telescoping and leather-trimmed steering wheel, automatic climate control, a compass, cruise control, a 12V power outlet, a digital driver-information display/gauge cluster that also doubles as the infotainment system's display. Features include navigation, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a six-speaker audio system. The passenger gets their own digital display. The only standard driver assists are real-time traffic display, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a backup camera, and rear parking sensors.
The single GTS trim is equipped to the same standard as its GTB coupe sibling but gains the electrically operated retractable hard top that stows and deploys in 12 seconds at up to 28 mph. The engine is the same 3.0L twin-turbo V6 PHEV arrangement that’s good for 819 hp. Standard features are LED headlights, 20-inch alloys, keyless entry with push-button start, leather on the seats and steering wheel (both electrically adjustable), cruise control, and automatic climate control. The driver faces a single digital display screen that doubles as the gauge cluster and infotainment system and comes with Bluetooth audio streaming, navigation, and a six-speaker audio system. A dedicated touchscreen for the passenger gives them access to the infotainment system. The only standard driver assists are automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors, and a backup camera.
The exterior doesn't have any outlandish or controversial styling cues, but is aggressive, functional, and elegant, although some people might regard it as a bit less memorable than some other Ferraris. The automatic LED headlights incorporate small air intakes and the body is full of aerodynamic features to direct airflow, with Ferrari having gone to extra lengths to clean up airflow over the top when the roof is down to minimize noise and buffeting. At the press of a button, the two-piece hard top folds away in 14 seconds and stows itself above the engine bay. The double front splitters sit below gaping air intakes and the shapely hips contain air intakes for the mid-mounted engine. The standard wheels are 20-inch alloys, but a variety of styles - including carbon-fiber wheels, are available. A transparent engine bay supplies a lends a partial rplant and the car has a wide center-exit exhaust in the black rear mesh grille.
The dimensions of the Ferrari 296 GTS reveal that it's a compact car, with a length of 179.7 inches, and a wheelbase of 102.4 inches. With the mirrors folded in, it has a width of 77.1 inches. It also has a sports-car height of only 46.9 inches. Traction is assured with a 40.5/59.5% front/rear weight distribution. Even despite all the PHEV gubbins, the dry weight of the Ferrari 296 GTS is 3,388 lbs in its lightest configuration, or 154 lbs heavier than the GTB coupe. Full of fluids and fueled-up, ready to go, it will be appreciably heavier - in the region of 3,800 lbs - but Ferrari doesn't provide an actual curb weight figure.
There is a basic palette of 20 colors for the Ferrari 296 GTS. The solid colors comprise Nero, Bianco Avus, Blu Pozzi, Giallo Modena, and three reds called Rosso Scuderia, Rosso Corsa, and Rosso Mugello. The seven metallics are Grigio Alloy, Grigio Silverstone, Grigio Titanio, Argento Nurburgring, Blu Corsa, Blu Tour de France, and Nero Daytona. There are two special colors - Bianco Cervino and Rosso Ferrari F1-75. Four historical colors are also on the palette: Rosso Dino, Canna di Fucile, Verde British, and Blu Scozia. In its basic configuration, the car has a blacked-out windshield frame and convertible hard top, but in the Assetto Fiorano configuration, these are in body color, with a front end that features a choice of blue or gray for the lower front fascia and upper bumper, converging into a racing stripe with a body-color centerline that goes back over the roof, terminating in a full-width rear panel below the taillights that is the same gray or blue.
A variation of five-spoke alloy wheels in different shades of silver can be fitted, and there is a matte-gray alloy and ten-spoke carbon-fiber wheel option, too. The standard aluminum brake calipers can optionally be painted black, blue, red, or yellow. Various exterior body components such as the rear diffuser and engine bay are rendered in carbon fiber.
The Ferrari 296 GTS's 0-60 sprint takes just 2.9 seconds in its standard RWD configuration, despite lacking the SF90's AWD system. Top speed is 205 mph - if you can find a track or other venue to legally exploit its high-speed potential. A 6-kWh battery pack is located under the floor to enable full eManettino EV operation for up to eight miles, but this mode is only good for pottering around town at lower speeds since the limited power available from the electric motor reduced top speed to84 mph. However, unless eManettino mode is selected, the gas engine kicks into life if you depress the accelerator pedal more than a preset amount. In normal driving, there isn't a hint of turbo lag because the electric motor is blended in and out smoothly to even out the power delivery.
The Ferrari 296 GTS's engine is the same one found in the GTB - a newly developed 3.0L V6 with a 120-degree bank angle, direct injection, and twin mono-scroll IHI turbochargers spinning at up to 180,000 rpm configured hot-V layout, improving response and efficiency. It's a short and compact engine that's 66 lbs lighter than the SF90's 4.0L V8. Unlike rival McLaren's similar 120-degree V6 in the Artura, the Ferrari has no balancer shaft in order to save weight, with vibrations soaked up by carefully tuned hydraulic engine mounts. By itself, the V6 is capable of 654 horsepower, but adding an electric MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic) worth 164 hp and 232 lb-ft results in system outputs of 819 hp and 546 lb-ft. The engine redlines at a heady 8,500 rpm. The torque is sent through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to the rear-wheel drivetrain, making the 296 the first hybrid Ferrari of this configuration (the SF90 is all-wheel drive). Other drivetrain features include a torque-vectoring differential and a third clutch that decouples the V6 from the driveline so the car can be driven on electric power alone.
The 296 GTS comes with more electronic assistance than most drivers realize. Stability and yaw control nudge the brakes to point the car into corners, its steering is electrically assisted, and it has brake-by-wire and active aerodynamics, yet all of these are so expertly tuned and seamlessly integrated that the driver is none the wiser. These features feel like an extension of the analog driving experience and not artificial. The 120-degree V6 almost sounds like a highly strung NA V12 and it's thrilling to chase its 8,500-rpm redline, even though some might lament the absence of the flat-plane Ferrari V8 scream. The electric motor ensures instant throttle response, so commands from your right foot are faithfully transmitted and predictable, building driver confidence. Steering feel is crystal clear and variable electric-motor regen is used to prevent slip without throttling back the engine, so your flow through the curves isn't interrupted. All you're aware of is massive grip, yet the 296 GTS is keen to play, and the Slide Slip Control system allows leary oversteers in safety, and makes the fun side of the GTS instantly accessible. It's an incredible testament to how intelligent application of technology improves the driving experience when done right.
The 296 GTS owner is hardly going to fret about gas mileage, but it's reassuring to know that an overall EPA estimate of 47 MPGe with the electric power in play is possible in the GTB. Official figures aren't yet available for the GTS, but they're not expected to differ. By itself, the gas engine yields a combined figure of 18 mpg. Eight miles of all-electric range is provided by the 6-kWh battery pack, and the combined range works out to around 330 miles on a full 17.2-gallon tank. Ferrari doesn't say how long charging the 6-kWh battery will take, but it should take less than an hour with a 7.4-kW home wall box, or around half that at a public fast charger.
The high-tech interior looks mightily impressive at first acquaintance but will take some getting used to. The materials are of the highest quality and lovingly crafted, but it is ergonomically intimidating and not always easy to use. The first issue is the steering wheel, which has been festooned with so many buttons, switches, and touch-capacitive controls to do away with column stalks that it represents overload, with even the headlight flasher and windshield washer competing for space on the wheel. Then there's the single driver-facing digital information screen that's both a gauge cluster and infotainment screen - and it's more of a compromise than a victory in practice. At least the passenger can help out, because they get their own screen to give them access to the infotainment system. What cannot be denied is that the in-cabin atmosphere is in keeping with the high-tech powertrain and the driver will simply have to adapt and learn their way around the controls.
Six-foot-tall adults will into the 296 GTS and there is enough interior space for two people of this height, but little more, with legroom at a premium and a distinctly snug feel. And that's after they've had to fold themselves double to get into the low-slung sportster; roof height is a mere 46.9 inches. If you're of shorter stature, there shouldn't be a problem. The racing seats seem to offer a bit more legroom thanks to their thinner backrests, so we recommend them if you have long legs. Seating is secure and supportive thanks to dual sport seats with ample bolstering and four-way electric adjustment, but more hardcore carbon-shell racing seats can be specified - just one of five seat styles offered.
The interior is decked out in top-class materials befitting the 296's price tag, with leather on the seats in a choice of 15 colors. Among these are various beiges, reds, tans, subtle dark blues, and grayscale options. Five different seat styles are available in any of the available colors, but the interior color and trim configurations can be personalized to the nth degree to create a unique interior. The Carbon Interior Upgrade renders many interior features such as the steering wheel, instrument hood, paddle shifters, and more in carbon fiber. Many of these carbon-fiber features form part of the optional lightweight Assetto Fiorano package anyway. Standard floor carpeting is offered in black, blue, brown, beige, tan, and red, and can be upgraded to tone-on-tone leather in black, or tone-on-tone leather & Alcantara in even more colors than the standard carpeting.
Cargo space is limited to what you can fit in the frunk under the hood, which amounts to around seven cubic feet; Ferrari doesn't supply a precise figure. That's good enough for a few mid-size carry-on bags but no more. Interior storage spaces are lacking, with slit-like door pockets, but as least there's a glove compartment, a big cupholder, and a center-console slot for stowing your phone.
The 296 GTS is more about its high-tech hybrid powertrain and an undiluted driving experience than offering a myriad of features, but the most important ones are there, including keyless entry, push-button start, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, four-way power seats, a compass, a 12V power outlet, and an electrically adjustable tilting/telescoping steering wheel trimmed in leather. Very few features that can be described as driver assists are fitted as standard, and they are automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, a backup camera, real-time traffic display, and rear parking sensors. Features such as a nose-lift system and additional driver assists, such as adaptive headlights and front parking sensors, cost extra.
The infotainment system and digital driver-information display/gauge cluster are all combined in one screen ahead of the driver and, therefore, a compromise in terms of functionality, with no convenient separate central touchscreen. The passenger gets their own touchscreen to give them access to the infotainment system, so you have help in that regard, if you have a co-pilot. The only standard features are Bluetooth audio streaming, navigation, and a six-speaker audio system. Apple CarPlay, a wireless charging pad, and a 12-speaker premium audio system are optionally available.
Expensive low-volume sports cars such as the 296 GTS don't get evaluated by JD Power, so we don't have a detailed picture of the 296 GTS's overall expected reliability. So far, there has been only one recall of the 2023 296 models and it's a quite serious one that is accompanied by a don't-drive directive until the problem has been fixed: a fuel-tank connecting pipe may leak, potentially causing a fire. The standard limited and powertrain warranties are both valid for three years/unlimited miles, and complimentary maintenance for seven years/unlimited miles is included in the purchase price as well. The hybrid components are covered for eight years/80,000 miles.
Expensive sports cars aren't crash tested, but the 296 GTS is a modern car with an advanced aluminum and carbon-fiber structure, so it should hold up as well as anything in a crash. Its advanced driving systems should keep you out of trouble, and the strong structure and airbags are there to act as a final defense, should the unforeseen happen.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The advanced traction- and stability-control systems and trick differential that optimizes grip are all active safety features, in addition to the powerful brake-by-wire carbon-ceramic brakes. In addition, the 296 GTS has four airbags and the federally mandated backup camera, ABS, and tire-pressure monitoring system. Standard driver aids include cruise control, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, real-time traffic display, and rear parking sensors. Adaptive headlights and front parking sensors can be optionally added.
Can you believe it? You pay $370k for a car and the roof comes off! Jokes aside, the Ferrari 296 GTS is a superb car. It's not only the first V6 Ferrari in half a century, but also an amalgamation of a laundry list of cutting-edge features, such as its PHEV powertrain and handling technologies that somehow meld together to turn it into an incredibly well-integrated whole that elevates the driving experience instead of diluting it, despite the presence of all the seemingly artificial trick tech. That experience has only intensified now that the top can drop. The fact that all the systems work together in concert and have been so finely tuned shows that driving passion can not only co-exist with advanced electronics and driving aids, but actually enhance the experience. Perhaps nobody currently does it as well as Ferrari.
The starting price of the new Ferrari 296 GTS is $366,139 before you add any extras, the most notable of which is the Assetto Fiorano package, which boosts the price to around $390,000. Many other extras are available and can quickly push the price deep into $400k territory. This price of the Ferrari 296 GTS is MSRP and excludes the $5,000 destination fee.
A lot of additional equipment can be optioned but the only package is the Assetto Fiorano package, which is a weight-saving package that replaces many interior parts with carbon fiber and is meant to prepare the 296 GTS for more strenuous track use. Most of the other options are standalone extras, such as a HomeLink transceiver, a front suspension lifter for negotiating steep driveways, Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto is offered), a 12-speaker premium audio system, a smoker kit (replaces the cupholder), and a wireless charging pad. Additional optional driver assists include front parking sensors to supplement the existing rear parking sensors and adaptive headlights.
There is only one default 296 GTS trim, but you can customize it extensively in terms of color, trim, and interior details to create a unique car. We'd be tempted to add the Assetto Fiorano package to offset some of the GTS's additional weight if you plan on tracking your GTS, and that suspension lifter and wireless charging pad will come in handy in the real world. It's a shame that smartphone mirroring isn't standard, and you can only add Apple CarPlay, but that would obviously require an iPhone.