Fanatec Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 – Review

Fanatec Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 – Review

This is not a replica – With these words Fanatec presents the podium steering wheel BMW M4 GT3 on the in-house website and then adds: THIS IS THE REAL DEAL.

In this review, we’ll take a look at how a steering wheel straight out of motorsport for 1500€ performs in practice and whether it’s worth the money in the end.

Order and shipping

The steering wheel can be purchased, if you do not have the “real” BMW M4 GT3 in the garage, exclusively via the Fanatec webshop. As of today (07/25/2022), pre-orders are possible, with November 28 given as the availability date

It should be noted that for the QR2, which is an additional part of the package, currently no delivery date is available. Here, unfortunately, some patience is probably required.

Scope of delivery

The steering wheel is delivered with the following scope of delivery:

  • Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3
  • QR1 Wheel-Side (golden, pre-installed)
  • Quick Guide
  • QR1 Update Cable

The following components will be delivered at a later date:

  • QR2 Wheel-Side (coming soon; first edition buyers will receive QR2 Wheel-Side in a separate package)
  • QR2 Update Cable (coming soon; will be shipped separately)

Compatibility

As expected from Fanatec, the steering wheel is compatible with all wheel bases since CSW V2.0. This also means full compatibility with the PC and, when using a corresponding base, also with the PlayStation 4 or 5.

Technical data

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Platform PC, PS4 Ready
  • Dual analog paddle modes Advanced clutch bite-point mode, Brake/throttle mode, Clutch/handbrake mode, Clutch bite-point mode, Mappable analog axis mode
  • Funky switch 4-way
  • Weight (approx.) 1400 g
  • Diameter 308 mm
  • Buttons 14
  • Grip material Overmolded rubber
  • Detachable button caps Yes
  • Vibration motors No
  • Analog joystick No
  • Display 1″ 128×64 OLED
  • Paddle shifter adjustability Distance to rim
  • Quick release Exchangeable
  • Material Carbon
  • Rev lights RevLED emulation via illuminated buttons

Features

Function keys

The Fanatec steering wheel is equipped with everything you need for a successful race:

  • 14 buttons, which according to Fanatec each have a release force of 700g. Besides the two buttons on the back, there are 12 dimmable illuminated push buttons on the front. A nice gimmick is the ability to configure these as dynamic rev LEDs via Fanalab if needed.
  • 3 knobs on the front, which are very easy to use with gloves due to the large design. They can be configured either as 12-way position switches or as “normal” rotary encoders.2 more 12-way thumb encoders, which are equipped with a Hall sensor and have a comparatively hard to trigger pressure point. Again, ideal for use with gloves, without such perhaps even a bit too hard.
  • BMW logo as a practical 4-way joystick for in-game menus or Fanatec’s tuning menu, The logo thus replaces the old familiar 7-way funky switch in a very creative way.

Shifter and clutch

The Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel has two two-way paddle shifters that can be operated separately from each other, allowing for one-handed upshifts and downshifts, for example. The haptic feedback is decent, but surprisingly does not come close to the quality of Fanatec’s Podium Advanced Paddle Module.

Also installed were two analog clutch pedals, which can be adjusted in their actuation travel. As with previous Fanatec conversions, these can be configured in various ways:

  • Advanced clutch bite-point mode, adjustable and savable in Tuning Menu
  • Clutch/handbrake mode
  • Brake/throttle mode
  • Mappable analogue axis mode

The clutch is also very hard to operate, analogous to the tight buttons and encoders. This and the positioning almost exclude an unintentional release.

OLED-Screen

The one-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 128 x 64 pixels allows Fanatec to display various telemetry data. The settings for the tuning menu are also displayed here.

Materials and finishing

Fanatec has not held back in the selection of materials. The housing is made of eight-layer full carbon and is probably currently unrivaled in the simracing sector. Forged carbon is certainly a matter of taste and not everyone likes it, but it is really excellent in this steering wheel. The other materials are also all top-quality and are as far away from a toy as possible: The saying “This is not a replica” has been implemented here in every respect.

The overall picture is rounded off by the cast handles that fit very well in the hand and have a hardness of 60 Shore. They provide a better grip and do not require as much maintenance as their Alcantara counterparts.

Misc

This section could also be directly titled Quick-Release without further ado. Even though Fanatec promises to deliver the new version of their QR later, there is reason for criticism here, as long as this does not happen: With cheaper steering wheels from their range, you can overlook the shortcomings of the system, but for a steering wheel that costs 1500€ and is so excellently processed, the QR1 clearly comes to its limits in terms of quality. It is urgently time for a remedy in the form of the QR2.

Driving impressions

Verdict

It has never been possible to hold the feeling of a real race car in your hands in such detail. However, you don’t just have a replica in your hands, it is, as Fanatec promises, simply THE REAL DEAL.

From unboxing to mounting the wheel, you simply have a grin on your face. If you then see your own steering wheel in the simulation of choice as soon as you virtually get into the BMW M4 GT3, the fair 1500€ purchase price and the previously missing QR2 are directly forgotten.

Pros

  • The real deal …
  • Materials and processing
  • Number of function keys
  • OLED-Screen
  • Configurable RGB-LEDs
  • Handles
  • Double clutch
  • Price/performance ratio

Cons

  • …. without QR2 so far
  • (Shifter)

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