Good Design Awards Tell a friend
Designers: Flavio Manzoni, Ferrari Design, Ferrari SpA., Maranello (MO) Italy
Manufacturer: Ferrari SpA., Maranello (MO) Italy
This is the first 6-cylinder engine installed on a road-going spider sporting the Prancing Horse badge; it unleashes its class-leading 830 cv total power output to deliver previously unthinkable performance levels and an innovative, exhilarating, and unique soundtrack, further enhanced by the fact that it can be relished with the top down.
The 296 GTS’s plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system guarantees it is an incredibly usable car even with cutting pedal response times to zero and delivering a 25km range in all-electric eDrive mode.
The car’s compact dimensions and the introduction of innovative dynamic control systems as well as meticulously honed aero ensure that the driver will instantly be impressed by its astonishing agility and responsiveness to commands.
Its sporty, sinuous design, and extremely compact dimensions also visually underscore its unique and modern forms, while skillfully referencing the likes of the 1963 250 LM, the perfect marriage of simplicity and functionality.
The RHT (retractable hard top) guarantees exceptional occupant comfort.
With the roof stowed it features a sleek, sporty design and with the roof up, the silhouette remains very similar to that of the 296 GTB.
The lightweight RHT takes a mere 14 seconds to retract or deploy at speeds of up to 45km/h.
The separation line between the car’s body and the roof is above the B post.
As a result, the folding roof splits into two sections that fold flush over the front of the engine, thus maintaining the engine bay’s thermal dissipation characteristics and the balance of the overall design.
This also allowed the designers to introduce a window in the rear section of the engine cover through which the new V6 is clearly visible.
When the top is retracted, the cabin and the rear deck are separated by a height-adjustable glass rear screen which guarantees optimal passenger comfort even at high speeds.
The 296 GTS further emphasizes the clean, sophisticated lines of the 296 GTB.
When the top is down, it is the peerlessly elegant epitome of the open-air hybrid concept.
Its unprecedented architecture for a spider, in fact, opens a whole new chapter in the marque’s story.
The designers’ goal of retaining the 296 GTB’s main characteristics required a period of meticulous analysis of the dimensions of its technical components.
There was a clear focus on minimizing the impact of any modifications on the exterior bodywork and also on introducing a clear, instantly recognizable theme that would encapsulate the complexity of the design whilst translating it into accomplished linear forms.
The need to stow the RHT (Retractable Hard Top) inside the engine compartment inspired the Ferrari Styling Centre’s team under Flavio Manzoni to create a new tonneau cover design, the geometries of which have produced styling elements very different to Ferrari spiders of the recent past.
While on the 296 GTB the engine bay is completely horizontal and dominated by two flying buttresses in a nod to the 250 Le Mans archetype, the 296 GTS’s tail is absolutely unique.
As is the case with the 296 GTB, a dominant feature of the new car’s architecture is the signature ‘aero bridge’.
The overall effect is of an extremely compact cabin effortlessly integrated with the wings and flanks.
The buttress theme is further enhanced by contrasting sculpted extensions that frame the engine cover screen and integrate the novel fuel filler and battery charge covers, avoiding architectural disharmony.
The 296 GTS’s cockpit was developed around the new concept of an entirely digital interface.
This interior layout draws on the latter’s stylistic coherence for its forms.
While with the SF90 Stradale the designers wanted to highlight the presence of the advanced technology and underscore a clear break with the past, in the case of the 296 GTS, the idea was to clothe that technology to a sophisticated effect.
The result is a pure, minimalistic connotation characterized by a powerful elegance that, on an aesthetic level, perfectly mirrors the design of the exterior.
Exclusive Italian leather trim to the seats and trim is further enhanced by the noble technical materials used on the functional components.
Aerodynamic flaps have been integrated into the rear trim structure to reduce buffetting and increase comfort in open-top driving.
The sculptural door panel is a seamless continuation of the dashboard in terms of both materials and color.
On the central medallion, the styling cue is a deep lozenge-shaped scoop, a three-dimensional element.
This type of architecture makes the entire door panel look extremely light and integrates the theme that connects it to the rear trim.
The tunnel incorporates the modern take on the classic gear-shift gate and a compartment for stowing the ignition key with its characteristic Prancing Horse badge.
The tunnel has also been redesigned, so that rather than being open as on the 296 GTB, it has a closing oddments compartment, which further emphasizes the continuity between mats and tunnel.