Dubai is a city filled with the latest cars in the market. From your most luxurious to the flashiest. Yet, every time we have driven a Ferrari on the main road, past the beach, or to the mall, the car (applies to every model from the Prancing Horse taken out for a spin so far) turns heads. Every single time.
So, what is it about a Ferrari that gets people excited and captivated? Is it because the Italian marque is one of the best sportscar brands in the world? Or because motorsport racing is in its DNA? Or its inimitable features like the signature red, comfort, and the distinguishable engine roar? Maybe the ultra-exclusivity of owning one? We think it’s a combination of all this and more.
We get just as excited to test drive a Ferrari, a brand that was built by Enzo Ferrari in his pursuit of excellence with passion. The sheer adrenaline rush and exhilaration of driving a Ferrari is unmatched. With the accelerator down and shift of the gear, a masterful symphony of power and precision unfolds in a Ferrari. And we had the opportunity to experience this recently in one of the finest models from the marque – the Ferrari 296 GTB in Dubai.
Launched in 2021, the Ferrari 296 GTB introduces an all-new hybrid V6 engine, with a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. The car’s moniker, a combination of its total displacement of 2.992 litres and number of cylinders with the GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta) acronym, follows Ferrari’s tradition of emphasising the significance of their new engine to Maranello. It heralds a new V6 era rooted in Ferrari’s exemplary 70-year-plus experience in crafting fine automobiles as well as in motorsports.
Ferrari’s Chief Design Officer, Flavio Manzoni had said in a press statement that they wanted to keep the shape of the Ferrari 296 GTB, “pure.” And there isn’t a better term to describe the exterior of the mid-engine sports car. Sporting a minimalistic, clean exterior, the 296 GTB takes inspiration from the 1963 250 LM Ferrari, which also happens to be one of the first mid-engine sportscar by Ferrari.
Inside, the 296 GTB takes its design cues from the SF90 Stradale sporting a neat, aesthetically pleasing tech-supporting cabin. The dashboard is equipped with a digital gauge cluster and all controls are on the steering wheel. It did take us a couple of drives around Bluewaters Island to get the hang of it; as they say, practice makes perfect! The 296 GTB also features a heads-up display, also known as HUD. Ferrari leaves no stone unturned to ensure that this beauty is designed to provide the driver with a superlative driving experience.
So, how did it perform on the road? With the 296 GTB, Ferrari proves yet again that sportscars can be daily commute cars as well. Cue, the V6 engine. And the fact that the car drives like a dream – like a Ferrari. The 296 GTB’s V6 produces 654 horsepower. Combined with the electric motor’s 165, the sportscar produces a whopping 819 horsepower and goes from 0 to 100kmph in 2.9 seconds. If you want to go electric, then the ‘eDrive’ mode allows you to drive up to 25km.
The 296 GTB features an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission which ensures smooth and quick gearshift, elevating the drive experience. The car moves with dexterity while always keeping the driver in control, across different speed levels.
For those wondering about the distinct Ferrari sound in a hybrid, the 296 GTB does not disappoint one bit. The engine roars to life in a crescendo that almost feels unique to the 296 GTB. As cliched as it may sound, a Ferrari engine’s reverberation is simply music to the ears.
Ferrari forges a new path with the 296 GTB and we honestly can’t wait to see what lies ahead for the Prancing Horse badge.