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Why aren't there more Ferraris in Hamilton?

Ferrari 360 Modena parked on Racecourse Road, Hamilton Anonymous
12 April 2009

If you find yourself on the roads of the inner north on a regular basis, it's likely you'll see plenty of expensive metal (and carbon fibre) rumbling its way around the Jacaranda tree-lined streets of Hamilton, Ascot and Clayfield.

Sure there are plenty of big S Class Mercedes Benz and 7 Series BMWs, and whilst they will set you back well into six figures, I'm looking for something a little more exotic. Think Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini.

Despite being one of Brisbane's most affluent areas, the taste in cars here seems to be a little more conservative than the newer wealth areas of Brisbane.

You're more likely to see a Mercedes Benz AMG S65 sedan (rrp $474,324) than a Ferrari 430 coupe (rrp $434,150) parked on Racecourse Road. Ask most Brisbane residents if they'd rather a Ferrari or a Mercedes (albeit a fairly special one) and most will go for the Ferrari.

So why are residents of the inner north so different? The first clue is in the area's real estate.

Whilst some newer wealth areas of Brisbane are full of oversized modern monstrosities (McMansions on steroids, you might say) the average property in the inner north is somewhat more understated.

Many of the area's best properties up on Hamilton Hill won't necessary blow you away with outlandish facades and oversized. They instead rely on their amazing views and location, substantial land size, historic significance (in some cases) and impeccable quality of finish throughout.

So whilst they may not have the sudden impact that some of the mansions in the western suburbs have, those in the know will appreciate the understated quality of the inner north's real estate.

Ferrari 430 at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich And that brings us back to the Ferrari 430 versus Mercedes AMG S65 debate.

Nobody will argue that the Ferrari doesn't have the greater initial visual impact. Indeed, most people will look at the Mercedes and think it's just an executive sedan with a few spoilers and fancy wheels. Sure it's handsome, but it's no Italian beauty.

As for performance, surely the exotic Ferrari would eat the big Mercedes sedan for breakfast, right? Not quite. The Ferrari will get you from 0-100kph in 4.1 seconds. The Mercedes does the same thing in 4.4 seconds. So yes the Ferrari wins, but by less than a third of a second. Barely a blink of an eye.

In the Ferrari you'll be able to take one special friend and shout over the engine to speak to them. In the Mercedes you'll be a third of a second slower, but you'll have four of your closest friends on board, each in absolute comfort.

Mercedes Benz AMG S65 How does the Mercedes do this? Twelve cylinders and two turbos is the answer. Whilst the Ferrari is powered by a high revving 4.3 litre V8 producing 360kW and 465Nm of torque, the Mercedes' hand built engine produces 450kW and a prodigious 1,000Nm of torque. Those figures, especially the torque, make the Ferrari seem somewhat pedestrian.

So in the same way that the Mercedes doesn't have the initial visual impact of the Ferrari, so to do many of the inner north's best properties not have the same initial impact of the acreage mansions of Pullenvale and surrounding areas.

But it seems that's the way we like it in the inner north. We don't need to stand out and seek attention, because we know what we have and we know it's the best. Understated elegance and quality of the highest degree is reflected in the houses we live in and the cars we drive.

The uneducated may think our Mercedes sedan and renovated Queenslander is no match for their mate's Dad's Ferrari and McMansion, but let them think that, it will keep the undesirables out and ensure their crime rate stays higher than ours!

Editor's note: The author lives in Ascot and drives an old Ferrari, flying in the face of his own article!

Mercedes AMG S65 is available from Mercedes Benz Brisbane, call 07 3251 6666.

Ferrari F430 is available from EuroMarque Ferrari Brisbane, call 07 3252 8222.