Not everyone wants an extreme machine.
Ferrari's expansion into the world of electrification continues with its latest creation, the 296 GTB. Instead of a V8 placed at midship, there's a turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 rotated at 120 degrees. Located between this engine and the gearbox is an electric motor for a combined output of 818 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque.
Oh, and this is a plug-in hybrid, proving once and for all this technology can effectively be applied to high-performance supercars. The days of boring hybrids and PHEVs like the Toyota Prius are over. Greater fuel efficiency and reduced C02 emissions were not Ferrari's only goals for its latest model, however.
Speaking to Autocar, the Italian marque's chief technical officer, Michael Leiters, emphasized that making the car comfortable and easy to drive were two vital goals.
"If you are scared driving a car, it's not fun, so the control is very important." To help accomplish this feeling of security, designers and engineers shortened the vehicle's wheelbase by 50 millimeters in order to cut down on inertia. Doing so makes it easier to steer, for example. Leiters also said the new driving sensor is capable of measuring movement in six directions to "estimate how close we are to the limit." The car is designed to prevent drivers from taking it beyond the brink.
Of course, building a less extreme supercar could result in pushback from longtime Ferrari buyers who are used to a more challenging vehicle to master. But managing to do so brings great personal satisfaction. But opting for a less hardcore Ferrari also means new buyers to the brand, many of whom may have once preferred something like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, for example.
Two very different vehicles, quite obviously, but the overall intention on Ferrari's part is to show not all of its supercars require advanced driving skills. While that mentality might be considered a betrayal by some, thousands of new Ferrari owners will soon join the grand Italian family - and they'll be bringing their checkbooks, too.