Having just completed the Ferrari Esperienza earlier last week, Ferrari Malaysia Naza Italia once again invited us over to Sepang International Circuit for the Southeast Asian debut of their latest iteration of the 296 model, the GTS. The new Ferrari retains everything that the Berlinetta has with the exception of a roof. But that being said, it isn’t as simple as just chopping off the roof and simply calling it a day.
Let’s be honest, the only reason why you’d buy an open-top Ferrari is to listen to the glorious exhaust note and Ferrari completely understands that. Ferrari actually revised the exhaust’s resonator to fully utilize the open-top setup. Hence, making it sound just a little bit better. But not everything is better with a drop top. The car weighs about 70kg more than its coupe counterpart. With speeds up to 45km/h, you can open or close the Retractable Hard Top (RHT) in just 14 seconds.
A lot more than just chopping the roof off.
Ferrari has also made sure to minimize the turbulence flow in the cabin. A flap reduces the buffeting while a redesigned trim behind the headrests channels air towards the tonneau cover away from the cabin. However, the biggest issue with open top sports cars is often the issue of torsional rigidity due to the lack of a roof. They’ve stiffened the A-pillar, B-pillar and side sills have been beefed up by 50% while bending stiffness increased by eight percent over the GTB.
In case you didn’t realize, this is the first Spider from Ferrari since the F430 to have a glass engine cover. A lovely piece that the 458, 488 and F8 Spiders did not receive possibly due to design complications. However, a welcoming return for the 296 GTS which hopefully lives on future models as well.
Facts and Figures
Much to our surprise, the heavier GTS is still able to match the lighter GTB’s 0-100km/h sprint of 2.9 seconds and top speed of over 330km/h. However, a sprint to 200km/h is slower by 0.3 seconds, which is 7.6 seconds as compared to the GTB’s 7.3. The convertible also laps the automaker’s Fiorano test track almost a full second slower, setting a time of 1:21.80 while the GTB did it in 1:21.00. Not slow but the additional weight does give it a slight disadvantage.
The same 2.9-liter 120-degree V6 engine found in the Berlinetta still makes 654hp, giving 218hp per liter, which according to Ferrari, is the highest specific output of any production car on sale. With the addition of an electric motor, you’ve got a combined total of 819hp and 740Nm of torque. The single 164hp, 314Nm electric motor mounted between the V6 engine and the eight-speed transmission, and a 7.45 kWh battery pack mounted under the floor is still capable of doing 25km of pure electric power.
Assetto Fiorano handling package.
Ferrari also offers an optional package for the 296 GTS called the Assetto Fiorano handling package. The package will lighten the car down as well as your wallet. The package will include multimatic dampers, carbon body parts, a composite rear screen and sticky Michelin Cup 2 R rubber tires. Among the options for the Assetto Fiorano is the special livery inspired by the 250 Le Mans.
What will all of these cost me?
Prices for the Malaysian market have been announced at RM1,448,000 inclusive of a 7-year or 120,000km maintenance programme. Prices however are before option customization, duties and insurance. Though, the price for the optional Assetto Fiorano handling package as well as the optional carbon wheels too have not been announced for now.
Written by | Danial Malek
Images by | NoEqual.co