Fanatec CSL Elite steering wheel McLaren GT3 V2 – review
Ordering, Shipping and Unboxing
The Fanatec McLaren GT3 Wheel V2 can only be ordered through the supplier Fanatec (link to the webshop*). Currently (as of December 2020) pre-orders are possible, which are to be delivered in February 2021.
The steering wheel is shipped with UPS. Here I recommend a separate account with UPS My Choice to keep an eye on the course of the show.
In my case, two working days have passed between the order and the delivery date.
The steering wheel comes in a custom shipping box, which reveals the actual box of the Fanatec McLaren GT3 Wheel V2. Once you have opened it, you finally look at the steering wheel, which is packed in a plastic bag (the steering wheels from the ClubSport series are delivered in a cloth bag) and protected from damage by foam.
Scope of delivery
The Fanatec McLaren GT3 Wheel V2 comes with the following:
- Buttoncamps to cover the various Xbox buttons in racing style
- McLaren-Style Sticker Set
- Simplified Quick Release Adapter (pre-installed)
- Quick Guide
- Stickers with the Fanatec logo
Compatibility and Drivers
Fanatec states the following products as compatible:
- PODIUM Wheel Base DD1
- PODIUM Wheel Base DD2
- PODIUM Racing Wheel F1® (PODIUM Wheel Base DD1 PS4™)
- ClubSport Wheel Base V2
- ClubSport Wheel Base V2.5
- CSL Elite Wheel Base
- CSL Elite Wheel Base V1.1
- CSL Elite Wheel Base + – officially licensed for PS4™
Xbox compatibility: In conjunction with this steering wheel, the above wheelbases become compatible with Xbox One® and Xbox Series X|S.
In my case, I was also able to operate the steering wheel on a ClubSport Wheel Base V1.5 after an update of the firmware, but there is no official compatibility on the part of Fanatec.
The official drivers can be found on the official homepage (link to Fanatec*) under the heading Downloads.
The first impression of the McLaren GT3 Wheel V2 is very positive. Unlike the low price of 200€ and the main material plastic, it looks very high-quality and is quite torsion-stiff. The only downside for the first impression was the clutch pedals. The honeycomb pattern, which certainly contributes to the stiffness of the clutch pedals, does not stand out very positively in my opinion.
Functional range (the steering wheel in detail)
The steering wheel is exceptionally well equipped for the low price of 200€. Especially magnetic shifters, clutch pedals and the OLED screen are rather exceptional and often reserved only for higher-priced wheels. The following switches have been installed:
- Two 2-way toggle switches: fulfill their purpose and have a rather looser pressure point
- Two 12-speed rotary switches with endless encoder function: Have a very pleasant pressure point and display the current positioning as a nice gimmick (see pictures)
- 7-way FunkySwitch™ (digital joystick with rotary function): Meanwhile almost become a trademark of Fanatec and expresses practical, especially for in-game menus
- Two enclosed snap dome buttons with laser-engraved N and P letters: Fanatec indicates that the pressure resistance is identical to the real steering wheel. That is quite noticeable. Without using gloves almost too tight a number, its push-to-talk button should not be configured here. However, the box limiter is certainly not activated unintentionally.
- Seven standard buttons with interchangeable caps: It is much easier to press than the N and P buttons, but in my opinion i think they fall behind the knobs and the funkyswitch. (A, B, X, Y, LSB, RSB, Xbox logo)
- Button for the tuning menu
- Rotary knob for steering wheel modes
- Two analog pedals
Compared to the old Quickrelease of the McLaren GT3 Wheel V1, the new Quickrelease no longer requires any tools and can be easily fastened by hand. In my opinion, it is quite sufficient for a steering wheel of this price range and does not necessarily have to be exchanged with the Clubsport Quickrelease (unless you want to operate the steering wheel in high-torque mode at a direct drive base). There is a certain amount of play, but at no time during driving does it weigh negatively.
New magnetic shifters
The new switching mechanism has been supplemented by magnets and thus achieves a much crisper switching feeling. For me, it’s clearly above the V1 of the McLaren-Wheel but it can’t quite match the Podium Paddles Advanced. By using a single paddle made of a piece of aluminium, you can switch up and down with one hand on both sides, which is very unusual for me at first, but also offers advantages.
The plastic clutch pedals can be operated in four stages:
- Clutch and handbrake: each with an analog axis, self-explanatory
- Brake and gas: Each with an analog axis, driving without pedals is possible!
- Freely assignable axes
- Clutch/grinding point mode
The grinding point mode in particular should be of interest to most drivers of e.B. GT3 vehicles. For a standing start, the perfect grinding point can be determined and retrieved later. The grinding point mode works in any simulation with analog coupling input.
The pedals themselves are of high quality, but do not quite come close to the processing of the shifter pedals made of anodized aluminium. I would also have liked to have had a little more way.
The one-inch OLED display with 128 x 64 pixels in white (previously blue) shows the speed in normal racing and the selected gear during switching operations. In contrast to the V1 of the steering wheel, the electronics have been redesigned, Fanatec promises a better durability.
Size and weight
With a diameter of 300 millimeters, the CSL Elite steering wheel McLaren GT3 is significantly larger than Fanatec’s Formula Wheels, which have a diameter of 270 millimeters. Even if the picture reinforces the difference a bit, the three centimeter difference makes a lot of difference, for GT3 vehicles the Fanatec CSL Elite steering wheel McLaren GT3 V2 is in my opinion the first choice. Of course, it can also be used for formula vehicles without any problems, but here it is subject to the smaller models, at least for my taste.
With a weight of 1090g with simplified QRA (+190g with ClubSport-Quickrelease), the McLaren wheel is extremely light and can be operated without too much FFB even with one of the lower performance wheelbases.
The handles of the steering wheel are covered with rubber, which has a hardness of 50 Shore A, which corresponds to the characteristics of the original GT3 steering wheel. For use without gloves, they are ideal in my eyes.
In my opinion, the McLaren Wheel V2 is currently the price-performance winner at Fanatec, no other steering wheel offers so many functions at a comparable price. The need to make slight reductions in the materials used is more than manageable for the price of only 200€. The biggest difference to the predecessor are the magnetic shifters, which were also the biggest criticism of the first version. Overall, the steering wheel offers a very round overall package and is a recommendation for anyone looking for a high-quality steering wheel in GT3 style for comparable small money.
How the steering wheel beats for a long time will have to be determined.
- Magnetic shifter
- Multi-sided clutch pedals
- Improved Quickrelease to its predecessor
- Light weight
- Use of plastic as main material
- Honeycomb pattern of the clutch pedals