See the newest supercar, the Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano, which was introduced in 2023.

t’s skip the pleasantries, shall we? The 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano is the quickest rear-wheel-drive production car MotorTrend has ever tested. Each of the six quicker cars we’ve tested relies on all-wheel-drive traction to save a precious tenth or two in the 0-60-mph sprint and only two cars, each making more than 1,000 hp, can beat the rear-drive Ferrari in a quarter-mile drag.

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The numbers: The 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB hits 60 mph from a stop in 2.3 seconds, beating the previous record holder by a single tenth of a second. That car? The mighty LaFerrari in all its electrically enhanced V-12 glory.

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Keep the throttle pinned, and the 296 GTB cracks off a 9.6-second quarter-mile time at 149.6 mph, putting it in extremely rarified air. The only two cars capable of a quicker pass are the Tesla Model S Plaid and the Lucid Air Sapphire, both of which make hundreds of additional horsepower and drive all four of their wheels.

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Neck and neck with the Ferrari 296 at the finish line is the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Assetto Fiorano, the quickest hybrid and quickest combustion-powered car we’ve ever tested. With an extra 168 hp, three times as many electric motors, and two more cylinders, the SF90 is quicker off the line and reaches 60 mph in 2.1 seconds, but those extras add another 311 pounds to the car’s curb weight—allowing the lighter 296 GTB to reel it in by the quarter-mile finish line. In a photo finish, both cars cross the line in 9.6 seconds, but the 296 is travelling 4.4 mph faster at that point.

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How The Work Gets Done

Yes, the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB achieves all this using a plug-in hybrid twin-turbo V-6 powering only the rear wheels. The nearly flat 120-degree wide-angle V-6 alone makes 654 hp, and the electric motor sandwiched between it and the eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle contributes another 164 hp for a peak combined output of 818 hp. Meanwhile, the gas engine makes 546 lb-ft of peak torque, with the electric motor making 232.

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Combustion engines and electric motors don’t reach peak output at the same speed so it’s difficult to pinpoint their combined totals, but it’s basically irrelevant in the case of the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB, anyway. Ferrari deliberately limits and adjusts the electric motor output in each gear to create the desired power delivery, so what you’re getting at any given moment is a careful balance of turbocharger boost and electric assist rather than everything the powertrain has to offer.

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Not that it feels that way from inside. Perform one launch-control start, and you’d struggle to believe this car leaves anything on the table. The power is immense and only builds as the revs do. With an 8,500-rpm redline, you (or the computer) shift when it sounds like the engine couldn’t possibly rev any quicker and you’re hit with another surge of power

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Ferrari says the powertrain is tuned for linear delivery, but it feels to us as though the real goal was to make it feel like an older naturally aspirated V-8 but with double the horsepower. Low-end torque is stronger than you expect and instantaneous thanks to that electric motor. The turbos come on quickly, and there’s a surge in acceleration as you pass the 4,500-rpm mark when it feels like the engine reaches full boost and comes on the cam simultaneously. It doesn’t let up until you shift, when there’s only the slightest pause as the engine drops back to the high 4,000-rpm range and you do it all over again until you run out of road.

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All the while, it really does sound like some new kind of V-12. Ferrari’s engineers took to calling it the “piccolo V-12” (little V-12). To our ears, it sounds like a cross between a flat-six and a V-12.

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To The Point

If you live anywhere outside of west Los Angeles or the select few similar locales around the world where people commute daily in Ferraris, most of the 2023 Ferrari 296 GTB’s weak points are easily and rightfully ignored. Driven as it’s intended—hard and unrelenting—the 296 GTB is as amazing a sports car as any Ferrari has built. The sound, the character, the experience; they’ve all been preserved and even enhanced for the modern age. Plus, it’ll get you around those noise and congestion charges more and more cities are imposing worldwide. In that light, it’s a win all around.

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