With the recent launching of the Ferrari 296 GTB at Naza Italia here in Malaysia, it seems that Ferrari has also decided to unveil their latest iteration of the ‘Spider’ in the form of a 296. Dubbed as the 296 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.
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.
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.
Ferrari also offers an optional package for the 296 GTB 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 to help reduce weight by 12kg. And if you still have money to spend, you can opt for the optional carbon fiber wheels that will shed another 7kg.
It is currently unknown when these will reach our shores but we reckon it's slated for a launch sometime later this year from Naza Italia.