Still unconvinced that the automotive world is on an unstoppable path towards cleaner cars that will mean the demise of the V8 engine as we know it?
Well, meet the Ferrari 296 GTB, the Italian brand’s all-new model that is set to introduce a new era of smaller-capacity performance cars – and eventually its first all-electric model. The 296 GTB debuts the brand’s all-new 487kW 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, the first production Ferrari V6 since the 1960s. Not only that, it’s also a hybrid, with a 122kW electric motor added for extra performance and up to 25km of electric-only driving. It’s paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The total output of this ground-breaking new powertrain is 610kW of power and 740Nm of torque. That’s enough to out-muscle the twin-turbo V8-powered F8 Tributo, so Ferrari will position the 296 GTB between the F8 and V8 hybrid SF90 Stradale.
Ferrari claims the 296 GT will run 0-100km/h in just 2.9 seconds and keep going to a top speed of 330km/h.
The design of the new model features some obvious styling connections to the F8 and SF90 but also has a clear connection to the 250 LM from the 1960s. The 1965 Le Mans winning car inspired the look of the B-pillar, rear window and Kamm tail.
However, while there are some retro touches to the styling the aerodynamics are cutting-edge. The Ferrari boffins have dropped the principles they’ve been using since the 458 Speciale to introduce a new way of channeling air across and through the 296. The biggest change is a switch from using active aerodynamics to reduce drag to instead using it to generate downforce.
The rear bumper features an integrated active rear spoiler – similar to what was used on the LaFerrari hypercar – that can generate up to 360kg of downforce at 250km/h.
Ferrari isn’t the first brand to abandon V8 power in recent years as emissions regulations make it tougher for big engines to be viable. McLaren recently revealed its own hybrid V6, the Atura, while Mercedes-AMG has confirmed the next-generation C63 will ditch its twin-turbo V8 for a four-cylinder hybrid.
Ferrari does have a long and illustrious history with V6 engines though, beginning with the famous 156 ‘Sharknose’ F1 entry that won the 1961 World Championship with Phil Hill. The company went on to build a number of V6 racing engines which they dubbed ‘Dino’ before creating the now iconic 206 GT Dino road car.