Ferrari 296 GTB India impressions: Red demon with hybrid horns


India is now the world’s third largest car market, overtaking Japan and sitting behind only China and the United States. And while the surge is being powered overwhelmingly by SUVs in the mass-market space, the luxury segment continues to grow by leaps and bounds as well. But what about the microscopically small supercar segment here? Almost everyone would agree that our country is hardly the happy hunting ground for growling V6s and V8s. Options for the elite among elites are limited but if you do have the resources for one, why won’t you choose one? And why not the Ferrari 296 GTB then?

Ferrari 296 GTB
With its typically low-slung profile, the Ferrari 296 GTB is best when being raced around on a track. But even in real world conditions, it has enough practicality to be an occasional thrill-evoking automotive miracle.

It is a masterpiece. It is a demon. It is a revolution. It is Ferrari 296 GTB and it has touched down on Indian shores as the latest mid-rear-engined two-seater marvel. All electrics can all but wait because this here is a plug-in hybrid too. But the core power still comes from the roar of a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that puts out 654 hp all on its own. Combine it with some serious electric power and one can add another scrumptious dose of 165 hp to the mix. The electric-only range is at 25 kilometres, a distance that this supercar can race through in the blink of an eye.

Watch: Ferrari 296 GTB review: Red demon with hybrid horns

For the purer among the purists, it may seem like a V6 is a ‘significant’ step down but does it really matter, especially when the Ferrari 296 GTB can do a 0 to 100 kmph in 2.9 seconds? Or when the rated top speed is at a massive 330 kmph? Or that here is a performance-based hybrid supercar from The Prancing Horse.

Ferrari 296 GTB
With a combined power output of 820 hp, and a roar to silence everyone on the road, the Ferrari 296 GTB makes quite a statement on the move.

Performance remains at the core of the Ferrari 296 GTB even if the start on eDrive mode means here is the quietest Ferrari off the block. The electric motor kicks in by default and pushes the supercar forward. The silence before the storm? Absolutely! Engage the Performance drive mode, caress the throttle with a foot and the Ferrari 296 GTB flies faster than the fastest roller-coaster you can ever imagine. The gearshifts are typically – and aggressively – quick and that feeling of a Ferrari revving all the way to the 8,500 mark is a feeling that no written words can ever seek to do justice to. And that roar, oh that roar…

Ferrari 296 GTB
Mean from the outside and mean within – the Ferrari 296 GTB hybrid supercar assumes several roles but all with the solitary purpose of putting speed credentials on a pedestal.

But for most parts of our quick drive though, we were surrounded by admiring fellow motorists too keen to get a closer stare. Who won’t want to do just that. Because here yet another Ferrari that looks menacingly gorgeous even when not making passionate love to the wind. Draped in the Rosso Corsa shade of Red, the model curves at all the right places for visual seduction. There is a sense of raw power on its proverbial horizon, one that also extends to the cabin where Alcantara, carbon fibre and high-quality leather converge for a perfect blend. Don’t expect the largest of display screens – and there are two screens inside. But who gets into a Ferrari for the infotainment anyway? The sports steering packs in a lot of touch-sensitive buttons and there is a learning curve to manage these.

But there is no managing the fact that the Ferrari 296 GTB is made to stand out wherever it may be standing still or racing forward at. Complete with that electric motor, it retains its mean heart with a gentle, genial purpose. At well and truly above 5 crore-mark, the Ferrari 296 GTB is perhaps what every modern supercar ought to be about – sense and speed.

First Published Date: 17 Oct 2023, 14:46 PM IST

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