Ferrari 296 GTB Review (2023)

1 Ferrari 296 GTB RT 2023 Lead

The 296 GTB’s cockpit mirrors that of the more expensive Ferrari SF90, although it isn’t quite so sculptural or spacious. It also feels more conventional than the bubble-like, monocoque-defined confines of the low-scuttled McLaren Artura and Maserati MC20 and lacks the pillbox flamboyance of the Lamborghini Huracán. However, this cabin is refreshingly grown-up in the context of supercars, being ergonomically sound and, aside from one or two questionable chromed elements, of high perceived quality, with some sumptuous leatherwork. This is an environment that deftly treads the line between luxury and sporting cues, and manages to excite without imposing any real inconveniences.

You can, of course, tailor the ambience to your tastes. An Assetto Fiorano-equipped car – with bare carbonfibre door cards, high-sided racing bucket seats, an Alcantara dashboard and LED upshift lights on the steering wheel – will feel considerably more spartan and serious than a tan leather and aluminium specification, but the 296 GTB lands both approaches easily enough.

No matter which path you choose, visibility through the rear screen is superb. And while the driving position could perhaps do with more reach in the steering column, it’s easy to get comfortable and develop that instinctive awareness of precisely where all four corners of the car are at all times.

Drawbacks? Two come to mind. Ferrari’s tendency to put as many controls as possible on the steering continues to grate, especially in light of the utter purity of the Artura’s helm. There’s also very limited cabin storage space, although this goes with the supercar territory, and the 296 GTB does at least have an adequately spacious ‘frunk’, unlike the SF90.

Multimedia system

The current-generation Ferrari models use an entirely digital instrument binnacle consisting of a single, crisp 16.0in display, all of it clearly visible through the steering wheel. To navigate it, you use your thumbs to swipe touch-sensitive pads on the steering wheel. It’s not the most intuitive or responsive set-up but scrolling between navigation, media and comms menus becomes easy enough with familiarity.

It’s within these menus that you can also command the 296 GTB to charge its drive battery while on the move, should you want to be more incognito at some later stage of the journey. You can also cycle through three display modes, although the standard layout is best in our opinion, with the rev counter front and centre. (You can choose the background colour, too.)

In the UK, Apple CarPlay is a standard feature, which is good to hear because Ferrari has charged heavily for it in the past. However, Android Auto isn’t available at all. UK cars also come with wireless smartphone charging as standard.

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