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    Cheki's test of the Ferrari 296 GTB with Esperienza Ferrari


    As a Ferrari customer, a Ferrari dealership may offer you a test drive of a new model, such as the Ferrari 296 GTB which has just been released. How's it going with Esperienza Ferrari? What to expect? What experience will you benefit from? What could you really test? Can you really make up your own mind? @cheki, owner of a Ferrari 599 GTB, has just taken the opportunity to test the Ferrari 296 GTB in Italy. He gives you the details of his experience during these tests and his return to the Ferrari 296 GTB.




    Quick background


    My father and I are after-sales customers of the Francorchamps Motors dealership in Brussels. I had been invited to CERAM to try the Ferrari Portofino M but, not being available, I had specified to the young woman from marketing that I would like to try the Ferrari 296 GTB. She then offered me to come and try it in Italy, over two days. Quick leave, plane tickets and rental car and the deal was done!


    Not much to do since everything else is taken care of by Ferrari. The concession offered me to take a private flight with them and take advantage of the shuttle to reach Salsomaggiore, but at €3,000 for the plane ticket (vs. the €27 I paid), I preferred to allocate my good money to other things.

    Take off from Brussels at 6:20 a.m. (good at 14€ the ticket should not be pushed either), landing in Bergamo around 8 a.m., in an already trying heat (27 degrees). Pick up the rental car and head to the beautiful town of Cremona, for a breakfast break, while waiting to reach Salsomaggiore for the scheduled start of the program at 12:30 p.m



    Arriving on the spot at the appointed time, a few Ferraris and two Porsches (?!) show that some owners (French, Dutch, Germans) weren't afraid to put miles on their fine cars for this event.


    Room check-in and delivery of accreditations with the two-day programs. Very nice hotel, quite large and in the form of a maze for certain aspects. In the room, a beautiful photo book of the Ferrari 296 GTB and a welcome letter are available to guests.


    Day 1: 50 kilometers on the roads around Parm




    Quick lunch before moving on to serious things, I find the other guests of the concession as well as the hosts. Human warmth, quite characteristic of Belgians, means that you quickly make "friends". I have an appointment at 2:50 p.m. for the briefing and then the test drive. So on to the briefing:


    Friefing-Ferrari-296 GTB.jpeg


    Very marketing explanations from the brand manager and in French please! As some have fairly rightly pointed out, very, very strong insistence on the fact that the car is "fun to drive" and that the sound has been particularly worked on. It's funny, that's precisely all I blame the Ferrari 488 and F8 duo.

    The Ferrari F8 Tributo precisely! I share this slide, which I found very symptomatic of something that jumped out at me throughout the presentation:




    As you can see, without any subtlety, the goal is to bury the Ferrari F8 Tributo with the arrival of the Ferrari 296 GTB. I found the presentation almost "insulting" to Ferrari F8 owners. The message was clearly "the Ferrari F8 Tributo is not fun to drive, the sound sucks, the Ferrari 296 GTB is just the opposite". I am magnifying the line but frankly it "swept" strongly from the speech.

    They explain the loop to us: 50 kilometers of ride, making it clear that it's a taste, before being able to discover the true potential of the car the next day on the track. Reminder of safety rules and speed limits, smothered in laughter ... we are in Italy. Anyway, enough talk, let's get down to business, heading to the parking lot:




    Arrival in the car park and discovery of a myriad of Ferrari 296 GTBs, in three main configurations:

    - Giallo TS, charcoal carbon bucket seats, diamond rims.


    Ferrari-296 GTB-Giallo.jpeg


    - Rosso Imola (launch colour) comfortable seats, original rims.


    Ferrari-296 GTB-Rosso.jpeg


    - Rosso Corsa, comfortable seats, diamond rims.


    I pass on the one and only Assetto Fiorano Grigio Scuro delivered Giallo, which I have not had the opportunity to try, unfortunately.


    Ferrari-296 GTB-Grigio.jpeg


    First purely aesthetic observation: it is frankly more successful in real life than in photo! It's a pretty stocky car, just the way I like them. Still a bit of trouble with the front end, which I find a bit too neutral, but nothing alarming. It has a nice presence and I find it more homogeneous, as a whole, than the Ferrari F8 Tributo


    So we go for a walk in the province of Parma, alongside Ivano, a trilingual (including French) Sicilian, really very nice and hyper permissive in terms of the pace given to the car. A remark to start: a lot of audacity on the part of Ferrari, in terms of choice of roads. We start on very winding roads and in poor condition, in short everything that could highlight the faults of a car. Well, I'm not going to take four paths, I was literally amazed by this first approach.

    The engine to start with: the first acceleration with my feet in it really took me by the guts, an acceleration of the suffocating kind, with a two-stage engine, which pushes hard at the bottom and which gives a big blow towards 4,000 revs/ min without running out of steam up to 8,500 rpm. It's rather very physical and exciting. The exact opposite, for me, of the powertrain of the Ferrari 488 and F8, which I found linear and tasteless as possible.

    The sound is generally very present inside, muffled at low revs and melodious in the revs. The small V12 side didn't jump out at me (it must be said that the sound of the Ferrari 599 GTB is quite metallic). It doesn't look like much known from Ferrari. It sounds like a nice V6 and I admit that I like the sound of the V6.

    The box: nothing special to say about it, except that it is therefore the new BV8 of the Ferrari SF90. It is surgical and super fast. Nice little hit in the neck in RACE, soft and fluid in the modes below.

    In Sport I've noticed sometimes it doesn't respond right away to my paddle input, but there's so much going on electronically in this car that there must be a reason.
    The gunshot effect when upshifting and downshifting (in bursts) is particularly nice. Without the stupid pop & bangs that are so fashionable today.
    The sound is generally very present inside, muffled at low revs and melodious in the revs. The small V12 side didn't jump out at me (it must be said that the sound of the Ferrari 599 GTB is quite metallic). It doesn't look like much known from Ferrari. It sounds like a nice V6 and I admit that I like the sound of the V6.

    Brakes: same as for the box, reassuring touch on the road and strong deceleration force (accompanied by the small retractable spoiler) on heavy braking. We will talk more about it on the circuit part.

    Chassis/damping: this is certainly the part that impressed me the most in the test circumstances. I remind you, the roads were in a rather deplorable state. And yet, the car behaves imperially, but truly imperially.
    At low speed, it manages the roughness of the road with very surprising comfort and as soon as you put on the pace, even a lot of pace, you end up with a super serene car, a very directional front axle followed by a rear axle. which accompanies serenely without a sudden stall (as long as you don't mess with the 830hp waiting behind).
    I didn't use the "bumpy road" button, really no need despite the circumstances. The car is clearly fun to drive, it's not a small car but it's nimble and really easy to drive around.

    In short, a moment of real driving pleasure.

    I pass the speech on the fact that the power is really too much for the open road, it would be a little reductive for the rest of the car which really gives the driver a great time. Once again, it's the opposite of my feelings when testing the Ferrari 488 GTB.


    And the hybrid part will you tell me? I didn't mention it! It's true and for good reason, I did not focus my essay on this part.
    I drove a little in full electric, good bah it does like all the others: silent, lively on the 0 to 50, nothing special to say about it. Perhaps two remarks that are important:

    The autonomy is only 25km, it may not seem like much but it can be enough to cross a ZFE.

    And the other point where Ferrari demonstrates that they have the best engineers in the world is the management of energy recovery. In Hybrid or Qualifying mode, the car goes from 0 to 100% battery in just 10km. This means that overall you have all the power (thermal and electric) almost all the time.

    For me this BEV unit is definitely more of a KERS in its use than a PHEV. And it's that positioning that I think best suits a Ferrari. Kudos to them for choosing this angle!


    Quick observation on the inside: the best meets the worst.

    On the better side: enormous progress in terms of perceived quality. I liked the steering wheel, smaller than on the Ferrari Roma, the new "travel" of the paddles is quite nice, although more digital than before.
    On the worse side: the 100% tactile is really lame, apart from the fact that we end up with fingerprints everywhere and that we press commands without doing it on purpose. The simple fact of no longer having a nice button that materializes and "sensationalizes" the firing of the engine really bothered me. It completely breaks the magic of the start-up.


    Return to the hotel enthused, sharing feedback with staff and guests. Going to the bedroom for a shower and putting on your cocktail dress before the evening gala dinner. Not much more to say about it. Good Italian food, I made some friendships with other enthusiasts like me, so I had a very pleasant dinner.


    The guests moreover, for me there were three clans: the enthusiasts like all of us here, the show offs for whom it is above all important to have the latest Ferrari that will accompany the RM, the Berlutti and the total Vuitton panoply/ Prada/Hermès and finally a significant number of prospects and/or new buyers of the Ferrari 296 GTB, who are very interested in the car and in the Ferrari universe.

    Day 2: test on the Varano circuit




    It's the day most awaited by everyone finally ... not by everyone, since the second category mentioned above didn't give a damn.
    Departure therefore for the very small circuit (2,500 m) of Varano 50 kilometers from the hotel, by the small roads of the province of Parma. In the same way as for the choice of roads the day before, big-up to Ferrari for having dared to choose such a small track to present a big berlinetta of 830 hp. This shows (if we still doubted it) that they are particularly proud of this car.


    The choice of a small track also makes it possible to avoid excessive speed, and therefore risks, for a cast of guests who are little or not used to riding on the track, at least for 90% of them.


    Briefing-Ferrari-296 GTB-Day-2.jpeg

    We start with a real briefing on the basics of piloting: position of the hands, choice of trajectories and explanation of the course of the day.

    In the program :

    - A lap of the track as a passenger to understand the track.
    - An "ability contest" consisting of a timed lap on an agility course in 100% electric mode.

    - Three sessions of 5 laps at the wheel of the car, accompanied.


    Briefing-Ferrari-296 GTB-Day-2-Corner.jpeg


    So off we went for a lap as a passenger. Here is a short video with the Ferrari F8 Tributo for you to get an idea:



    A bit perplexed on the choice of the track but finally quite excited by the physiognomy, there is everything you need to have fun.

    Ability contest :

    There too, I was a little perplexed about the interest of the animation, but ultimately it was quite playful and we quickly got into the game. It's quite easy and fun to do it in full electric. Very proud that I am, I want to tell you that I finished 6th for the day, out of 60 guests, and that I would have finished first if I had not hit a cone at the end of the lap. It was necessary that for Ferrarista!

    I have attached two videos that could be called "two rooms, two atmospheres" with the same thermal and electric lap.

    You'll see that even from the outside it sounds pretty good, at least for the first two thirds of engine use, even though under full load it mostly whistles. The sound is the exact opposite of the Ferrari 599 GTB, in the latter, the exterior takes full esgourdes, while inside it is almost silent. The Ferrari 296 GTB is the opposite, modern times what do you want? 

    Track Sessions:


    This is the high point of this presentation for me. Frankly, very pleasantly surprised by the fact that Ferrari does not hesitate to test its car and its customers on relatively long track sessions, not very usual in Maranello.
    The first session is done a little in discovery mode of the car and discovery of the track. Special mention to the approach of the instructors: pedagogues, absolutely not restrictive, and even rather pushes to crime!



    What stands out more compared to the test of the day before?


    - The front axle always, really very directive and precise. You really feel that it likes to be loaded under braking to then allow you to fine-tune your trajectory as much as possible.
    - The rear axle follows with a lot of liveliness while being particularly stable: the electronics help a lot.
    - The engine: always this phenomenal punch, with an extension and a musicality that allows you to realize where you are at RPM.

    On the Ferrari 488 GTB, I was quite surprised by the limiter (700 rpm less also), on the Ferrari 296 GTB, it never happened to me and yet I can guarantee you that it works! Always amazed by this double-stage character which is often the prerogative of (good) atmospheric engines.

    - The brakes, less convinced than the day before on the road to be honest but as you will see later, certain circumstances can explain it. The digressive is rather easy to do with a very hard pedal which allows you to be calm and to place the car correctly. But what bothered me was the lack of consistency. I always had a form of apprehension at the bottom of the straight, wondering how they were going to react this time. Nothing dramatic though, but it's worth noting.
    - On the damping side, I found it a little soft for the exercise we were dealing with, but hey, it's still a road car. Didn't have the opportunity to test the Assetto Fiorano which is firmer. But overall, the dive and the roll are well controlled.

    I really liked the format offered, it allowed you to really enjoy the car, to raise your level but also to stop at the right time and not go around too much, the one that sends you into the wall . I did two of the three sessions with the same instructor with whom I hooked up well and I loved his advice and the speed with which progress appears.


    We come out of the car not very proven: ease of handling, electronics which help a lot and very efficient air conditioning mean that we benefited well but that we are not like Verstappen in Miami either.



    Last point on driving, electronics precisely. It would be vulgar to say that this car is ONLY electronic, but we can't deny the fact that it's omnipresent in the driving experience.


    There are two configurable aspects:
    - The classic manettino on the right with the modes we know: low grip, rain, sport, race and ESC Off.

    - A selection of electric thermal mode on the left of the steering wheel: full electric / hybrid / performance / qualifying


    Being well seen and in good confidence with my instructor, I was allowed to ride in RACE and in Qualifying mode while 90% of the other guests were forced to ride in Sport and in performance mode (qualifying for some).

    I did the first session in Sport and frankly you can feel and see, with the ASR lights, you can do almost anything and the electronics handle the rest. In my setup, RACE and Qualifying, the auto was much more permissive and directive, I didn't see (with the lights) or feel the electronics popping up but I'm 100% sure it helped me. That's also Ferrari's strength: making you believe that you're the boss and that you're going super fast when it's the one holding your hand.

    But electronics has its limits for the most gamers:




    And the electronics also brings up completely unknown phenomena, we wait for the gentleman to finish looking carefully at the brakes:



    We look at the four discs and what do we see?




    Yes, these are CCM disks that are almost dead, normal given the use you will tell me? Not quite since it is the rear brakes that are in this condition! The electronics are so forced to pinch the rear wheels to compensate for the lack of progressiveness of the apprentice pilots behind the wheel that the front discs stay relatively cool while the rears become real cheese graters. That too is the evil of our time

    We take advantage of the Ferrari hospitality one last time before going to lunch and leaving for France.




    Two small remarks of the small indiscretions gleaned here and there:

    - The Ferrari Roma would be a commercial flop: the dealers cannot sell their executive vehicles and the order intake is close to nil.

    - I found the Ferrari staff to be very "pushy" on the buying intentions of the guests on the Ferrari 296 GTB and on the FUV. It is a feeling shared by all the guests present. We clearly feel that they want and "need" to do a lot more volume than before.

    - A lot of purchasing intentions and information gathering from the guests, Ferrari seeming happy with the order taking. But many interested parties are waiting for the Ferrari 296 GTS before signing the order form.


    I had a great time, the impression of being truly privileged in the holy of holies beyond the pleasure felt by testing this car which frankly I liked. I don't have 300 K€ to put in a car today but I completely understand those who are going to be tempted, it's a well-bred car, well in its time, but with a real character. Congratulations to future owners!


    That's it ladies and gentlemen, that's all for me, I hope I was informative, don't hesitate if you have any questions or requests for clarification


    If you liked this article, you may also like:

    Long-term tests: Ferrari 458 Speciale

    Long-term test: Zaz's Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

    Ferrari 458 and Ferrari 488 brake recall campaign

    50 Ferrarista members at the 70th anniversary of Ferrari in Maranello

    Edited by Franck

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    Merci pour ce photo reportage très complet!

    Attendons de la voir vieillir… 

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    Le 23/05/2022 à 20:33, DrSay33 a dit :

    Merci pour ce photo reportage très complet!

    Attendons de la voir vieillir… 

    Merci ! Une potentielle candidate au DrSay33 garage ? 

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    il y a 4 minutes, cheki a dit :

    Merci ! Une potentielle candidate au DrSay33 garage ? 

    Sans doute, mais pas avant 10 ans!

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    il y a 3 minutes, DrSay33 a dit :

    Sans doute, mais pas avant 10 ans!

    Je comprends ! 

    il y a 1 minute, DrSay33 a dit :

    Ils ont quand même un certain rythme ! 😄

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