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Fanatec is known in the gaming community for offering gaming peripherals with premium build quality. If you’re looking to set up your first racing rig, you might want to check out the CSL Elite series as it’s one of their most affordable wheels available in the market today. Relative to other units, they do not come cheap though. Other gaming wheels are still far more affordable than the CSL Elite series.
However, a CSL Elite gaming wheel means you can start playing your favorite racing sim games right away as Fanatec wheel systems are highly customizable. The CSL Elite offers sim racers great value for money which means you won’t feel buyer’s remorse once you have them with you. In this article, we’re going to review Fanatec’s CSL Elite line of gaming wheels so if you’re interested to learn more, read on.
The CSL Elite WRC steering wheel looks and feels good on the eyes and to the touch. The overall design of this racing wheel was inspired by Rally cars to sport a revised internal and external visual statement every gamer will surely love. The 300mm wheel diameter feels like an actual steering wheel of a real Rally car and is suitable for most vehicle types across all games. It’s also very lightweight when compared to other steering wheels out on the market today making it the ideal gaming wheel for the quick inputs Rally driving usually requires. Not only that, this steering wheel is officially licensed by World Rally Championship (WRC) and is used as an official gaming wheel in most WRC Esports competitions making you feel like a pro gamer yourself at the comforts of your own home.
The CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC is an affordable gaming peripheral for sim racers looking for a quality steering wheel for their racing rigs. At just $199.95, you’ll have a perfect steering wheel for your sim racing games to master even the most demanding rally stages. This racing wheel is made with brushed aluminum spokes, has prominent bright orange paddles and stitching, as well as an integrated 3-Digit LED screen that shows useful data in compatible games. The wheel is covered with a genuine Alcantara grip with a detachable paddle featuring Fanatec’s unique Snapdome activation for a satisfying ‘click’ response when using it. There’s also a Tuning Menu Access available for gamers to tweak their settings during gameplay to accommodate individual driving styles.
This steering wheel has exchangeable components like the simplified quick release adapter as well as the shifter paddles. The QR1 Lite Wheel-Side does not need clamping bolts that clamp easily to the steering shaft by hand. This new design by Fanatec makes it convenient to remove and can be replaced with the ClubSport Quick Release Adapter if you also own one. The bright orange paddle shifters are also removable to allow for more clearance or to install optional ClubSport Static Shifter paddles. The optional paddles are more comfortable to use while Rally driving so you can check it out if you’re interested. Also, there are pre-installed Xbox button caps that can be replaced with racing-style caps already included during purchase if you’re playing on PC or PlayStation.
The CSL Elite WRC steering wheel works great on Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, as well as PC. Once you’ve connected the CSL Elite WRC steering wheel to your platform, the whole system such as the shifters, pedals, or handbrake will immediately become compatible with it. You’ll know it’s connected as there’s a white LED placed above the Xbox logo of the steering wheel to let you know it has already communicated with the console. If you’re gaming on PlayStation meanwhile, you’ll need to have a PlayStation licensed wheelbase such as the CSL Elite Wheel Base or the PODIUM Wheel Base DD1 PS4 (QR1 Wheel-Side required) in order to use this steering wheel on Sony’s platform.
Overall, the CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC by Fanatec is a great buy as the layout isn’t that intimidating for first-time sim racers. It’s affordable, highly versatile, and definitely not your average steering wheel.
For fans of F1 meanwhile, Fanatec offers the CSL Elite Steering Wheel McLaren GT3 V2. This steering wheel is a full-sized replica with a detailed reproduction of the actual steering wheel used in McLaren GT3 race cars. Like the CSL Elite WRC steering wheel, it’s competitively priced at $199.95 but with redesigned electronics for improved performance and durability than its original. This refinement of the V2 replaces the 4th rotary encoder of the real GT3 wheel with a white 1” OLED display. The overall shape of the wheel and the size of the switches, paddles, and dials are based on the original McLaren CAD data. It’s also officially licensed by McLaren Automotive Limited so if you’re looking for a stamp of approval for your chosen steering wheel, then this is it.
The McLaren GT3 V2 uses realistic magnetic shifters so that racers can nail every race start. The multi-purpose paddle system was designed for you to determine the optimal bite-point before every start of the race so you’ll be able to initiate the perfect launch to put you ahead of the pack every time. All these exciting new features are made possible thanks to a completely revised shifting mechanism with a longer throw and magnetic resistance. This provides players superior tactile feedback allowing you to do up and downshifting with one hand. The paddle system also gives you an option to drive without pedals with the brake/throttle mode. There’s also a clutch bite-point mode, handbrake mode, and mappable axis mode, to name a few.
Using an F1 steering wheel means there will be a lot of toggles and rotary switches first-time racers will be unfamiliar with. These multi-positional switches allow for wide compatibility between different racing games. Each button has high bezels and is laser-engraved with Pit and Neutral buttons with realistic resistances. The buttons have changeable button caps for customization and every input is intelligently placed to be within reach by your fingertips so you can always concentrate on the race. The McLaren GT3 V2 also doesn’t need any clamping bolts like the CSL Elite WRC. The simplified quick-release adapter can be replaced with the QR1 Wheel-Side if you’re up for it to unlock High Torque Mode on Podium Wheel Bases for double the fun.
This racing wheel is officially licensed for Xbox One, as well as Xbox Series X|S. It’s also compatible for PC while PlayStation gamers need a PlayStation licensed wheelbase in order to enjoy this steering wheel on their platform. To sum it all up, the CSL Elite Steering Wheel McLaren GT3 V2 is the perfect peripheral for fans of F1 as the wheel is true to form ensuring you’ll experience the thrills of the track and race like an actual F1 driver while in your living room or gaming room.
The CSL series also offers an accompanying pedal set to complete your steering wheel and pedal combo for your sim racing setup. It’s made from an all-metal design for durability and longevity with a free choice between grip or a slick surface with its detachable rubber pads to offer great grip on soft surfaces. A lot of racers attest to its quality as some say they’ve been using the same pedals for years without problems making this a great addition to your peripherals. The pedals are also extra-long, adding more realism and comfort to lessen foot fatigue, especially when playing for hours.
With the addition of a Load Cell Kit, the throttling and braking performance of the CSL Elite Pedals will make it so that you’re braking in a real car, elevating the simulation to another level. It’s also made from an all-metal design like the standard CSL Pedals to maintain the durability and longevity Fanatec products are known for. The load cell sensor is equipped with a highly durable load cell that can hold up to 90 kg of pressure. Having a realistic braking feel on your pedals also ensures you’ll be able to drastically improve your gameplay through muscle memory training and you’ll be able to smash your personal best lap times in no time.
Once you’ve upgraded to the Load Cell Kit, you can use the standard brake pedal as a dedicated clutch pedal for the ultimate upgrade for total immersion, precision, and consistency when playing your favorite sim racing games. Just like the steering wheels of Fanatec, their pedal sets are highly adjustable. The pedal positions can be moved sideways along the heel rest and are also height adjustable to accommodate different driving styles. The pedals can be easily braced against a wall or other vertical surface for added stability, especially during intense racing sessions.
It’s possible to customize the braking force as it can be easily tweaked via the Fanatec Tuning Menu. The upgraded electronics present on the pedals make it possible to calibrate all three pedal axes to fit your driving style. The standard CSL Pedals is priced at $99.95 which is a great buy if you’re looking to complete your sim racing set up with all the tools needed for a fun racing experience. Fanatec also offers the CSL Pedals LC for $199.95 which is a bundle of the CSL Pedals and the CSL Pedals Load Cell Kit. This is a great alternative for an upgraded pedal set of the CSL Elite if you have the budget.
If sim racing is one of your main hobbies as a gamer, investing in a Fanatec steering wheel and pedal set is definitely the way to go. While other steering wheels from Thrustmaster and Logitech are more affordable, the CSL Elite series of products from Fanatec are also competitively priced and pack more punches when compared to other steering wheels on the market today. They have great Alcantara covers, are true to size to actual race car wheels, and have lots of features and customizations to justify their price tag.
Both the CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC as well as the McLaren GT3 V2 are some of the best steering wheels available on the market right now. If you’re gaming on Xbox and/or PC, they’re highly recommended due to their affordable price and easy setup making it a great buy for first-time sim racers. While you need a PlayStation licensed wheel-base to use it on Sony’s platform, you’re better off getting a dedicated steering wheel from Fanatec for PS4 and PS5 like the Gran Turismo DD Pro or its Express version to unleash the full functionality of a Fanatec steering wheel.
The CSL Elite series of steering wheels are some of the most stylish wheels out there and you’ll definitely notice it as you pull them right out of the box. They’re showy, have bright colors, and have LED screens as well as other bits and pieces to make it eye-catching. There are more luxurious Fanatec models from their lineup but this is definitely the best-looking wheels available right now at its price point.
Can I use the CSL Elite WRC or the McLaren GT3 V2 for my PS4/PS5?
Both CSL Elite steering wheels will be compatible with Sony’s platform provided they’re connected to a PlayStation licensed wheelbase. The PODIUM Wheel Base DD1, as well as the CSL Elite Wheel Base for PlayStation, works well for both steering wheels but the full functionality of the wheels can only be guaranteed on PC. The compatibility is also game-dependent so it’s best to check the game’s guide first before trying them out.
Do the CSL Elite Pedals also work for consoles?
The CSL Elite Pedals also works well for consoles when connected through a Fanatec Wheel Base and Racing Wheel. It’s also compatible across all Fanatec wheelbases or any Fanatec racing wheel with RJ12 Pedals connector. The Pedals can also work as a standalone but you’ll have to cough up additional products so be prepared to have an extra budget with you.