Just a short three months since its global premiere, the Ferrari 296 GTS has now made its Southeast Asian regional debut here in Malaysia last night, at the Sepang International Circuit.
The 296 GTS is described as the “latest evolution of Maranello’s mid-rear-engined two-seater berlinetta spider”, and will go on sale here in Malaysia starting at a price of RM1,448,000 before duties, taxes, insurance, and any customisable options.
As the name suggests, the 296 GTS is nearly identical to its coupe/berlinetta counterpart, the 296 GTB – both sharing the same basic aluminium chassis, and most importantly, the new ‘Picollo V12’ 3.0-litre V6 hybrid engine. To account for the removal of the roof, however, Ferrari did have to make several modifications to both the chassis and design (obviously) of the 296 GTS.
On the former, the A-pillars, B-pillars, and sills have been strengthened, improving torsional rigidity and bending stiffness by 50% and 8% respectively compared to previous spider applications.
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As for design, the folding hardtop unfortunately meant that the beautiful see-through engine cover had to be shrunk down to just a tiny window now, making space for the roof’s storage. But at least, the redesigned buttresses do give the 296 GTS a unique silhouette, and the virtual fairings at the back also ensures that the aerodynamic performance is unchanged from the GTB.
On the mention of the roof, Ferrari says that the unit takes 14 seconds to retract or deploy, and can be operated at speeds of up to 45 km/h.
The addition of a retractable hard-top roof does come at a weight penalty of 70 kg, pushing the total kerb weight up to 1,540 kg. But despite the added weight, Ferrari still quotes an identical 0-100 km/h sprint time of 2.9 seconds, with only the 0-200 km/h time taking three-tenths slower at 7.6 seconds, compared to 7.3 seconds of the GTB. Top speed is also identical to the coupe counterpart, which is rated at over 330 km/h.
The 830 hp and 740 Nm (663 hp from engine) output figures also remain identical to the coupe, as is the 25 km of electric driving range when in EV mode, which can be engaged at speeds of up to 135 km/h.
All of the 296 GTB’s electronic smarts have also been brought over to the Spider, including eSSC (electronic Side Slip Control), electric traction control (eTC), eDiff, a new ABS evo brake-by-wire control system, and a six-way Chassis Dynamic Sensor (6w-CDS) – the latter is said to enhance the car’s “fun to drive factor” by sending relevant data to the various electronic systems.
Just like the Berlinetta, the Ferrari 296 GTS will also be offered with the Assetto Fiorano package, as seen here in the photos. The package swaps out several trims both inside and out with lightweight materials for an overall weight-saving of 8 kg, and also adds on additional carbon-fibre aero bits for an additional 10 kg of downforce.
There’s also a set of special “GT racing-derived adjustable Multimatic shock absorbers optimised for track use”, plus if you want it, a special design livery (as seen here) inspired by the Ferrari 250 Le Mans race car, running from the front wings all the way to the rear spoiler.