Ferrari 296 GTS Hybrid review: ‘Ravishingly beautiful, unique’ at a price of 366,139 USD

Don’t make the mistake of patronizing the Ferrari 296 GTS. I know it’s tempting, because this $366,139 centerpiece is powered by a V-6 hybrid instead of the 8- and 12-cylinder engines that made the Ferrari NV famous. There’s a lot of pride and brand recognition built into those internal combustion machines. “Ferrari doesn’t make cars, Ferrari makes engines,” as the saying goes.

Smaller engines are not without precedent. The company produced street-going V-6s in the 1970s, although to this day it still does not recognize those “Dino” models as official branded Ferraris. It’s a long story involving Enzo Ferrari’s deceased son, nicknamed Dino, and some mechanical weirdness about how many cylinders must be in an engine before it can be considered is masculine. (The models were designed and built by Ferrari but were marketed as a new, entry-level brand called Dino.)

Anyway. As Ferrari looks ahead to its first all-electric car coming out next year, it makes sense that they would also produce a hybrid or two. The 296 GTS is the convertible version of the excellent plug-in hybrid Ferrari 296 GTB, which made its debut in 2021, following on from 2013’s LaFerrari mild hybrid.

I drove the 296 GTS around South Beach and Miami’s Design District, over the Rickenbacker Causeway and to Hard Rock Stadium during the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix. It’s been a heavy weekend for Ferrari: The brand is celebrating 70 years of sales in the US and has unveiled a pair of glorious new 12-cylinder sports cars. I try not to get too distracted. Here’s what I think.


The mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive two-seat vehicle combines 819 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque. It has an all-electric range of 7 miles and 47 MPGe in combined gasoline and electric driving. With a smooth eight-speed transmission and extremely agile handling, it will hit 62 mph in 2.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 205 mph.


Strange, arresting beauty characterizes this magnificent Spider. I drove one in Blu Corsa, a muted tone that accentuates its most seductive edges and highlights its rear pillars, worthy of inclusion in Architectural Digest. This is one of those rare convertibles that looks as good with the top up as it does with it down. (The roof folds down in 14 seconds, at speeds of up to 28 mph.) In any case, this Italian treat exists not in the realm of fashion but in the realm of style.

Maybe even more exciting, the 296 GTS is faster than almost anything else you can buy—but the handling, suspension, and balance of the car’s exquisite speed control is what makes driving an unforgettable experience. The hybrid power plant performed excellently as I drove slowly through pedestrian-filled Collins Avenue; Its all-electric mode keeps the car thankfully silent so I’m not the one with the screaming engine disturbing runners and cyclists as they enjoy the feel of the ocean.

Cruising across Miami’s many bridges and overpasses is like a chance to fly. That’s when all the power from Ferrari’s unique engine made the car soar. In those exhilarating moments, obeying the legal speed limit became my only concern.

Bad people

The infotainment system is not needed. This crazy setup offers a postage stamp of a tactile touchscreen on the steering wheel to control simple things like the radio. I had to rely on my passengers and their small dashboard-mounted control screens to adjust the climate and audio as well as sync my phone to the car, which was almost as complicated and difficult as it sounds. tolerable to them as well as to me. Anyone who tries to reason with the ancient Italian psychology of time and order will understand it. (An American working for an Italian company once told me, “Italians are very good at making simple things complex and complex things simple.”) We love them for it. .

If you have long legs or big feet or both, you will find the foot box quite stuffy.

If You Remember One Thing

There’s a reason why Ferrari orders banks a year in advance, even though the average price of their cars is four times higher than Porsche’s. The company sets the standard for attractive sports cars that are fun to drive and look impressive even when parked. The 296 GTS is one of them.

Still not convinced? Drive it around for a day and bask in the appreciative looks from your fellow drivers and the sheer joy of driving it, and just keep quiet about what’s hidden inside. No one needs to know it’s just a V-6.


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