The 6 Best Fanatec Wheels: Ultimate Guide

Fanatec direct drive steering wheel for sim racing

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Fanatec can’t but be considered as one of the best racing sim wheel producers out there but, within the Fanatec product-line itself, what are the best available wheels? Here’s our guide to 2020s best Fanatec wheels. As a last note, we’re only considering wheels that come with force-feedback (so either “normal” force feedback wheels, or wheelbases that are bundled with a steering wheel). 

The Top-Rated Fanatec Steering Wheels in 2020

Editor's PickWheelScore
Top PickFanatec Podium F197%
Runner-UpFanatec Clubsport GT Forza Motorsport92%
Also GreatFanatec Clubsport BMW GT292%
Budget PickFanatec CSL Elite84%
Budget BMWCSL Elite BMW GT285%
Budget F1Fanatec CSL Elite F186%

Top Pick: Podium Racing F1

Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1

Direct drive? Check. Attractive wheel rim? Check. Great value for money? Check.

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The Fanatec Podium F1 combines the Podium DD1 wheelbase and ClubSport F1 rim.

Let’s start with the wheelbase: the DD1 is, simply put, mastery in the field of Direct Drive technology. Other than being made of very high-quality metals, and looking the part of a professional simulator set-up, it shines in all it does. The ultra-low torque will ensure a smooth driving sensation, like the one of belt-driven wheels, while still leaving space for all the other incredible additions. The OLED display allows for incredible levels of data retrieval and, thus, customisation. The upgrade tuning menu hence matches like a wonder, allowing you to adjust things such as steering lock, force-feedback strength, shock, ABS, drift mode, force, spring, damper, and force effect intensity. The integrated electronics within wheelbase housing make it so that you will never experience latency issues instead of getting immediate feedback from your sim. This is the most realistic direct drive system ever capable of being handled by a console. 

The wheel is just as brilliant. It has a myriad of customisable and easy to access features from the 11 buttons and 12-way multi-position switches to the various thumb encoders and rocker switches. It’s ergonomic and it’s armed with the most authentic paddle shifter system ever made (Dual analogue clutch paddles allow F1-style launch control by pre-defining the clutch bite point). Finally, as the cherry on top of an already incredible wheel, multicoloured lights show you the RPMs of your engine and the optimal point at which to change gear, as well as signalling ire slip, fuel level, or incoming radio. 

All in all, this is the ultimate experience for those wishing to simulate F1 races with their setup. And if you’re a PS4 user, you’ll be glad to know this is also our undisputed best wheel for PS4

Runner-Up: Clubsport GT Forza Motorsport

Fanatec Clubsport GT Forza Motorsport

If you’re looking for a Fanatec wheel which will get you the closest possible feel to a direct drive, but won’t break the bank, then this is it

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The Fanatec Clubsport GT Forza Motorsport combines the ClubSport V2.5 wheelbase and ClubSport GT Forza Motorsport rim.

We’ve looked in depth at the Clubsport V2.5 and we simply can’t but love this wheel. This isn’t a direct drive wheelbase, but it will get you as close to a direct drive feeling as you possibly can while spending around half the money. In case you’re wondering, we do think this a better wheel base than the CSL Elite, Fanatec’s only other non-direct drive wheel base.

The 2.5 makes use of the Directsensor technology, it has a super-detailed tuning menu you can access in order to perfect every little aspect of your drive it has an incredibly smooth, brushless servo motor that delivers instant acceleration without any dead zones. Better still, the incredibly strong belt drive makes use of a dual belt system with multiple ball bearings and v-ribs. In turn, this signifies that there’s no belt slippage and no drag in the slightest. To summarise in a few simple words: you’ll fall in love with the ClubSport V2.5. 

There were two variations we had to consider when picking this bundle as our silver medal choice. One had the exact replica of a BMW GT2 steering wheel, the other had the “Forza Motorsport” rim. Counterintuitively we went with the second one, and here’s why. While the BMW GT2 wheel is great, the FM rim scratches more itches, and it scratches them better. The BMW wheel is coated in Alcantara, the FM wheel in real leather and made from anodized aluminium. The BMW wheel is 32cm wide, the FM 33cm. Both wheels have the same amount of buttons, but the FM model allows you freedom in where you want the buttons to be (it’s customisable!). All in all, this is a spectacular wheel on a spectacular wheelbase. 

As a last note, this is also available as a bundle, which adds the ClubSports Shifter and the ClubSports pedals V3! 

Also Great: Clubsport BMW GT2

Fanatec Clubsport BMW GT2

The power of the ClubSport Wheel Base V2.5 coupled with a 1:1 replica of a BMW wheel, yes it’s as great as it sounds!

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The Fanatec Clubsport BMW GT2 combines the ClubSport V2.5 wheelbase and ClubSport BMW GT2 rim.

We’ve outlined most of the reasons why this wheel isn’t as good as the FM one, but let’s try to make you change your mind now. First and foremost, this is a licensed, exact 1:1 replica, of the wheel you’d find in an actual sports car. When we mean exact we mean the same size, the same weight and made from the same materials. The LED lights at the top of the wheel function similarly to the ones you’d find in the F1 bundle we talked about in our number one spot. With the addition of a great LED speedometer to let you know how fast you’re going without having to look at a distracting hub. As a final note, the paddle shifters feel great too. All in all what more could you want than a real-life replica of a racing wheel if you truly wanted to test your racing acumen? 

Budget Pick: CSL Elite

Fanatec CSL Elite

This is what we’d usually refer to as a “budget pick” but budget doesn’t always mean lack of quality!

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The Fanatec CSL Elite combines the CSL Elite wheelbase and CSL Elite rim.

This CSL Elite bundle can be a quality pick for you. It doesn’t reach the same levels as some of the other members of our list, but hear us out. The wheelbase allows for a rotation of up to 1080°, and is coupled with notable force feedback. The CSL Elite makes use of the servo motor, electronics and power supply of its higher-end siblings. This allows for the single belt drive to deliver strong and incredibly detailed force-feedback. The design is such that the force-feedback you feel is smooth and frictionless. When you also couple this with Fanatec’s Directsensor technology, the effects are double those which you would normally expect. As a little cherry on top, the tuning menu allows you to fine-tune the behaviour of a myriad of functions (including force-feedback) to your liking. 

The steering wheel manages to perform a fantastic feat: you won’t think about it. Some entries in this list are opulent in what they offer. The CSL Elite Steering Wheel takes the point of view that when you race you want to think about the race, not the wheel you’re holding. It’s incredibly lightweight (less than one kilo!) it’s a respectable 30cm in diameter, and it comes with durable and satisfying shifter paddles. The genuine leather is intermingled with suede fabric for maximum comfort, aesthetics and ergonomics. 

Budget BMW: CSL Elite BMW GT2

Fanatec CSL Elite BMW GT2

Much like real life BMWs, this bundle comes at a steep price hike compared to the base model

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The Fanatec CSL Elite BMW GT2 combines the CSL Elite wheelbase and ClubSport BMW GT2 rim.

Strictly speaking, this should be an upgrade, but the question we asked ourselves is: “is it worth it”. In our opinion… mileage may vary. The BMW GT2 wheel is a fantastic wheel (as we’ve mentioned above). It’s a replica that will have you feeling like you’re manoeuvring that car in-game and in real life (and it’s extra special when you race in it in your racing sim). However, is this wheel worth around 1 and half times more than the CSL Elite Steering Wheel (the difference in price between the two bundles?). We have a hard time justifying it, but perhaps it might be to you! 

Budget F1: CSL Elite F1

F1 cars require incredible power, does this bundle offer that, or should we pit and try again?

The Fanatec CSL Elite F1 combines the CSL Elite wheelbase and ClubSport F1 rim.

This bundle is very situational. If you really really want an F1 bundle with an F1 wheel and a wheelbase, then go for it. Chances are you’ll have a great time and will enjoy racing in it. If, however, you’re looking for something that will truly replicate the feel of an F1 car, this bundle may fall short. The CSL Elite is a good wheelbase, created specifically to be affordable, but it simply isn’t as powerful as what we’d want it to be for an F1 game. If you have some money to spare, look at a more high-quality product (like the number one on our list). 

All this shouldn’t come as a detraction to the wheel, however. It’s completely made of metal, has ergonomic Alcantara grips, has LED lights and a speedometer, a fair amount of buttons, the whole deal! If you don’t really care for “the best” experience, and just want to have fun, then this could be a great purchase for you! 

Design Your Own Fanatec Wheel

Okay, technically speaking this is cheating, but so many people don’t know this exists we simply had to add it to the list. 

There’s a decent chance that, in reading through this list, you’ve wished you could mix some parts of the bundles with other parts. Well, lucky you! Most people ignore this option, but Fanatec allows you to add and subtract different parts so that you can create your own specific dream setup. Better yet, there are options under the bundle creator that you otherwise wouldn’t find on the website. Want to feel as though you’re driving an antique car in an old F1 circuit? Why not add the “Podium Steering Wheel Classic” to your DD1 bundle, couple it with a more traditional shifter like the ClubSport Shifter SQ V 1.5, add a handbrake, and there you go! Want to feel like you’re driving a Porche 911 GT3? There are options for that too! 

Of course, making your own bundle doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a discount, but Fanatec does a fantastic job at helping you figure out what pairs with what, giving you plenty of options, and you can truly finally create exactly what you’ve been looking for. If the change is minute then maybe consider just modifying a bundle a tiny bit to try and get the discounted price. What’s key in all this is the wheelbase. Once you have that you can always switch out compatible wheels for one another. 

Oftentimes it’s hard to make a choice because aspects of one bundle attract you, whilst others you don’t like. Well, whether you’re just slightly adjusting a pre-existing set-up, or creating your own from scratch, give the bundle configurator a look. 

Last Updated on November 23, 2020

Thomas Bush

Hi, I'm Thomas. I'm passionate about getting the best possible gaming experience. On this blog, I'll share my guides, tools, and accessories for getting the most out of your PC.

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