Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro Review
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro is simply the best force feedback racing wheel package not priced out of consideration for mainstream gamers. Fanatec’s modular system lets you upgrade almost every element in future if you like too.
- Superb intricate force feedback
- Much quieter in use than most alternatives
- Supports the wide array of Fanatec add-ons
- The composite steering wheel is basic by Fanatec standards
- Only includes a 2-pedal board
- Some compatibility niggles with old titles
- EuropeRRP: €699.99
- Direct Drive force feedbackThis is the first racing wheel we’ve reviewed with direct drive force feedback, which connects the steering column directly to the motor at the unit’s core.
- Built-in displayAn in-wheel screen lets you tweak parameters in the built-in menu system and can display telemetry data in certain games.
- 5Nm torqueThis wheel base offers up to 5Nm of torque, enough to give your arms a workout. It can be upgraded to a bicep-busting 8Nm with an add-on power supply.
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro is the best all-round racing wheel base you can buy right now.
Fanatec’s Gran Turismo DD Pro package takes this revolutionary piece of tech and bundles it with all the bits you need for a full setup. That’s a wheel rim and a set of pedals. I’m going to take a look at this starter kit in this review, and will also touch on some of the upgrades available, and whether they are worth it.
However, the CSL DD is the one true special part here. Its force feedback blows away that of the Logitech G923 or Thrustmaster T248 with its intricacy and resolution, and outclasses the pricey Thrustmaster T-GT too.
Unlikely as this may sound given it costs more than a PS5, the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro represents excellent value at 699 Euro.
Fanatec gives you an opportunity to spend a lot more too, as the CSL DD base supports much higher-end pedals and steering wheels than are included with the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro. However, the heart of this system can take you from a curious hobbyist willing to splash out on one of the best force feedback experiences available to a sim racing obsessive with a room dedicated to your setup.
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro is made for PC, PS4 and PS5, which you may be able to guess from the “Gran Turismo” tie-in.
I tried using this wheel with an Xbox Series X. No luck. However, it will work just fine with Xbox consoles if you hook it up to a steering wheel that supports Microsoft’s consoles, which I did have an opportunity to test.
You may also find you have an issue getting the wheel to work with some older titles. There are “compatibility” modes for PC and PlayStation that make the CSL DD behave just like an older CSL Elite, but I still couldn’t get Project Cars on PS4 to play ball. You’re less likely to have such headaches with a Logitech or Thrustmaster wheel.
Design and setup
- Small but fairly heavy wheel base
- Bundled clamp stand
- Fan-less cooling
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro is a force feedback racing wheel starter kit. This may sound flat-out wrong to some of you when it costs 699 Euro, around double the price of something like the Thrustmaster T248 or Logitech G29.
However, Fanatec is – and always has been – more of an enthusiast brand than either Logitech or Thrustmaster. The Gran Turismo DD Pro also shows Fanatec is more dedicated to innovation than either of those better-known brands.
Why? This is a direct drive racing wheel. Until the components in this kit arrived on the scene, you could not get a direct drive wheel base for under a grand. Purchased separately, the CSL DD base costs just 349 Euro (it’s the Xbox-only version of the wheel base used here).
Direct drive means the wheel column is connected directly to the motor, where Thrustmaster and Logitech use either gears or belts (or both) to connect motor to steering column. It’s the most high-end style of racing wheel, and has never been as affordable as it is in the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro.
It also helps the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro wheel base remain pretty small. It is a relatively petite brick, but one that weighs a whole lot more than something like the Thrustmaster T248’s.
Much of the shell is metal. This telegraphs a pleasing sense of quality, but it has a practical use too. The metal is used as a heatsink that removes the need for a fan — most racing wheels have these, and they typically kick in after a handful of minutes of play.
Racing wheel fan noise was never a big issue in the PS4 and Xbox One days, as those consoles were pretty noisy by themselves. But in the era of the super-quiet Xbox Series X and PS5? Fanless operation is worth celebrating. This is easily the quietest wheel I’ve used to date in other areas too. Its direct drive style simply doesn’t generate the clonks and clanks you’ll hear in other racing wheels.
It’s small and quiet, but if you setup your Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro as I did, the thing starts bulking up. This package includes a two-part clamp mount system. The top half slots into the base. It provides a high friction rubbery surface and avoids any wear to the metal of the main unit. The screw-in bottom part lets you attach the wheel to a desk or wheel stand.
If in the future you decide to get a more advanced setup that lets you screw the base into a stand, you can leave out the clamp parts completely.
- Punchy 5Nm force feedback as standard
- Can be upgraded to 8Nm with add-on power supply
- Highly refined direct drive force feedback system
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro has the best force feedback I’ve used in a racing wheel to date. It dramatically overshadows recently released kits like the Thrustmaster T248 in terms of resolution, immediacy and power.
Unsurprisingly, it pairs beautifully with Gran Turismo 7, but works just as well with Gran Turismo Sport – good to see given that game was released way back in 2017.
There’s none of the notchy, granular feel of a gear-driven system like the Logitech G923’s. You won’t feel any of the belt slipping or slight vagueness of a belt-driven setup like the generally excellent Thrustmaster T300 RS.
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro offers the kind of fidelity and responsiveness I’ve only really felt before in the Fanatec ClubSport v2.5, which you can’t buy anymore.
In the last couple of years I have mostly reviewed lower-end wheels like the Thrustmaster T248 and Hori DLX, and the DD Pro sits far apart from them. It’s as if the Fanatec is working with a much larger vocabulary of force feedback responses, leading to a higher-fidelity, more immersive experience as you play.
It’s wonderful stuff. Extreme power is what the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro’s default kit doesn’t have. Fanatec rates the Gran Turismo DD Pro’s torque at 5Nm, similar to the classic Fanatec CSL Elite, which was my top racing wheel recommendation until it was discontinued. I find is sort of power is exactly what I want from a force feedback wheel.
It’s enough power to make wrestling with a car feel like a slight struggle, enough to make you consider turning the power down if you want to play for more than an hour or so. But it’s nowhere near the torque of the classic Fanatec ClubSport v2.5, which is where force feedback becomes almost violent.
Want that sort of racing torture? You can have it. Fanatec sells a 150 Euro Boost Kit 180W add-on that increases maximum torque to 8Nm. This is simply a beefier power supply, but it uses a Molex connector so you can’t, sadly, use a cheaper similarly specced third-party PSU instead. Not without some electrical know-how, anyway.
I’d say this upgrade is for serious sim racing fans only. It reminded me of sessions with the ClubSport V2.5, where the forces are so strong it can feel the wheel, not you, is in charge. I find it much easier to appreciate the subtleties of the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro’s force feedback at a lower power.
However, that you have this upgrade path on offer, without needing to splash out for a completely new wheel base, is brilliant.
- Has controls made for PlayStation consoles
- Rubbery wheel grip
- Composite construction with no key metal parts
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro’s actual wheel clearly signposts this is a kit made to a tight budget. Fanatec makes some incredible wheels, the most expensive of which costs 1500 Euro, but this one’s build is much more ordinary.
Much of its construction is a “composite” material, which you can think of as a fancy, ultra-tough plastic. The areas you grip onto are coated in rubber, not leather, and some of the many buttons are a little loud and clicky compared to those of, for example, the Logitech G29. It’s diameter is much smaller than that too, roughly matching the other lower-end racing wheels.
This is the one obvious area in which the Logitech T-GT has a clear advantage. It has a lovely leather-clad wheel that feels more upmarket than this one.
However, you can upgrade it further down the line if you want to. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t feel the need to. It still feels a lot better than the wheel of the Thrustmaster T248 and has solid, fairly quiet gear shifters with a nice hit of feedback on the depress. These are, unfortunately, made of composite rather than metal.
This is not a basic wheel in all respects, though. There’s a neat multi-colour LED rev indicator that can help you to time gear changes by looking our for the final blue LEDs lighting up in your peripheral vision.
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro also has a little OLED display that shows the on-wheel menu and basic telemetry data in games that support it. This isn’t just the Gran Turismo titles.
An on-wheel menu system lets you quickly alter rotational sensitivity and the force feedback strength, as well as a bunch more in-depth parameters like how heavy steering feels. In the “Advanced” mode you can create multiple profiles, which can be flicked through quickly.
This wheel feels a bit more pedestrian than the one that came with the Fanatec CSL Elite I got hold of years (and years) ago, but its design and tech are also far more polished. It looks like something Thrustmaster might produce.
- Two-pedal kit included
- Steel frame build
- Concave plastic pedal caps
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro ships with a set of CSL LC pedals. It’s a simple two-pedal board that comes arranged almost like a go-kart’s pedals, with enough room between them that you’d operate each with a foot rather than skipping between brake and accelerator with your right foot.
However, as in other areas of the package, what you get here is customisable and can merely be a framework for future upgrades if you want a more serious setup.
It’s an excellent framework too. The structure is steel, the footrest is metal too, and moving the peals around requires little more than an Allen/hex key and a couple of minutes of your time.
In the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro’s basic pedal layout we’re effectively using a clutch pedal as the brake. It has great travel, which makes it feel quite realistic in use, but the brake’s resistance is relatively light and breezy. A rubbery foam inner element makes its resistance increase as you depress the pedal, but the surprisingly good pedals of the Thrustmaster T248 offer a stiffer brake.
Not satisfied? You can get an add-on load cell brake. However, it is not for the faint of heart or weak of foot. Fanatec’s load cell brake emulates the feel of a real racing car brake. I’ve never been in an actual racing car, but the load cell is incredibly stiff, and the in-game effect is measured by the force applied rather than the amount the pedal is pushed down.
You can customise how much force is required, but it does absolutely require a setup where the pedal board is firmly screwed into a frame. Much as I prefer the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro before it is turbo-charged with the 180W Boost Kit, I also prefer the lighter feel of the default pedal. If you would too, but also want a clutch, you can buy an additional standard pedal for 40 Euro.
You can also use the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro with the brilliant Fanatic ClubSport pedals. But they cost 400 Euro so probably aren’t a good fit if you already consider the base package “splashing out”.
There is a cheaper upgrade. The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro’s pedals have plastic convex caps, sure to cause a few grumbles. I think they are perfectly fine as the plastic is tough, and an internal support structure stops them from bowing under pressure. However, there’s a 35 Euro Tuning Kit, a set of anodised aluminium caps for those who want the caps to match the rest of the metallic pedal board.
Should you buy it?
You want the best force feedback:
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro offers the best force feedback you’re going to get for the money. Its direct drive system is refined, powerful enough, and intricately realistic.
You want a more advanced setup:
The actual racing wheel and pedals are a little basic by Fanatec standards. They’re upgradeable but can end up spending a fortune in the long run.
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Pro is the force feedback wheel racing fans should aspire to own and represents more substantive innovation in the field than you’ll see from either Logitech or Thrustmaster.
This is the most affordable direct drive wheel ever, and it provides more realistic, smoother, higher-fidelity force feedback than you get from a Thrustmaster T248, Thrustmaster T-GT or Logitech G923.
Fanatec’s squeezing of this tech into package priced to attract mainstream buyers rather than just sim racing fanatics does mean there are a few compromises. The construction of the actual steering wheel isn’t all that luxurious and you only get Fanatec’s entry-level pedal board.
However, this is emblematic of the reason I think Fanatec is the best all-round racing wheel maker: it has consistently focused on improving the core substance of these racing wheels, force feedback. Its rivals have made much less progress here. And if you find yourself yearning for an upgrade in an area or two, Fanatec offers seemingly endless options that don’t involve starting from scratch.
How we test
We use every gaming wheel we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of games.
We also check the controller’s software support, as well as the quality of bundled accessories such as pedals and shifters.
We used for at least a week.
Played a variety of racing games.
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It works with PS4, PS5 and PC as standard.
The base supports Xbox but you’ll need to get a wheel that supports Xbox for it to work.
There’s no clutch with the base bundle, but you can add one later on.