Fanatec CSR Elite Review

December 10th, 2011 by Jordan Greer

With former steering wheel market leader Logitech resting on its laurels, there’s been a flurry of activity fill the mid-to-high end range of steering wheels over the last few years. For Gran Turismo 5 players, the licensed Thrustmaster T500RS was generally considered one of the best options – until now.

Fanatec has significantly raised the bar in the higher end of the market, according to one of the first reviews of the wheel by famous GT insider and sim-racing enthusiast Amar212.

Amar was given a pre-release version of the Fanatec CSR Elite more than six weeks ago, and has been busy testing the wheel with a wide range of different titles, including GT5 and Forza 4. Read his complete review here, which he conducted with the wheel mounted to a Rinoseat GTR.

The CSR Elite will be shipping worldwide soon – visit Fanatec’s website for more information about securing one of your own. Thanks to Amar for sharing this great review in our forums!

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  1. Jan. 8, 6:25am

    I want it with a Momo logo on it…!
    Price is of course what is still putting this on hold for the time being.
    For now I’ll keep up with the Logitech GT wheel.( toy wheel compared to this of course)

  2. Jan. 2, 1:13pm

    well Race 07: GT Expansion is best.. iracing suffers from some delay and steering problem which I watch replays when I crash and the wheel is completely in the wrong position than where it is actual in real life, I should make a video.. game is bad

    shift 2 still has the delay so therefore its not real

    Race 07: GT Expansion isn’t real cause when u do a long burnout and turn the wheel slightly it goes out of control

    in real life that does not happen

    still nothing is as real as real life but Race 07: GT Expansion is as close as it gets..

    can’t forget Live For Speed cause that is also realistic

    I think LFS is most real than the rest cause of the steering wheel and positions is always nearest actual..

  3. Dec. 28, 8:33pm

    This is crazy Thrustmaster last year released their wheel ($600) and got a bashing for the price the wheel was announced to sell with no shifter. Now Fanatec releases their premium wheel for $550 and that’s just the wheel no shifter and even worst no pedals and you guys praise them. Let’s do the math that’s $550 wheel+$199 pedals and $79 for a cheesy gearbox and if you want to use the pedals of your Logitech you have to pay $10. Talk about over priced. This is what the call nickel and dime you for everything. I’m not bashing the wheel I’m just trying to make a point on some of you giys comments when Thrustmaster announced their price for their wheel without any of you giving the wheel a test run. I’m not trying to start a pissing match here I own the Thrustmaster T500 rs with the shifter and I wish I could also get this but I’m really happy with my purchase.

    • Dec. 29, 2:17am

      u can only get what is out at the time

      when they said they put sensors and stuff in the right place for closer realism it’s true

      I can truly feel the corner

      T500RS is like sim but CSR Elite is like real

  4. Dec. 26, 5:47pm

    to be honest the only game where Momo is awesome at is Toca Race Driver 3 and DFGT is totally like power wheels

    G25 is like geary
    GT3RS is a step up huge and is great cause of the belt
    T500RS is a step up above the GT3RS very good but not perfect, huge delay in iracing
    CSR Elite is a step up above the T500RS to the point where the feel is like close to real life but still very small delay but smaller than the rest so this is the best wheel to buy

    but I have to say the feel in the corners seperates this wheel from the other wheels.. havn’t tried Frex wheel but the cornering feel in iRacing is amazing as well as Shift 2 theres like no delay compared to the T500RS

    highly recommend no one buy the Momo and DFGT to use for racing simulation

    they r like wheels u would use on an arcade u would play at an amusement park

  5. Dec. 26, 5:09pm

    almost forgot about LFS, all the wheels r great on it except DFGT and Momo but CSR Elite truly takes it to the realistic level

    like authentic genuine realistic level instead of sim feel

  6. Dec. 26, 5:05pm

    I have this wheel

    had Momo, G25, GT3RS with CSP, DFGT, T500RS, CSR Elite wheel with CSR Elite pedals

    always always wanted pure realism but non really gave that total realism feel, all the other stuff feels like a simulator but this feels like real life

    u can really feel the corner instead of just holding a corner and like really not much feel

    every wheel I used for iracing it didnt feel realistic like at all but this it’s totally realistic

    GT3RS = GTR2/TDU
    T500RS = GT5/Race 07 expansions
    CSR Elite = iRacing

    if u get the CSR Elite and use it on iRacing u will know what I’m talking about

    I don’t really need to explain but those who drift know precise realistic steering angle is highly important.. this isn’t really spot on but its closer than all the other wheels

    theres a slight delay but very small, noticable but good enough

    still tho I feel the corner like really feel it instead of just glide through it which to me is pure realism

    the others dont give that.. that’s all I have to say

  7. Dec. 26, 4:41am

    T500RS sorry

  8. Dec. 26, 4:31am

    is the T55RS compatible with any shifter you may buy somewhere else? please explain

  9. Dec. 16, 10:41am

    I doubt this review is all true. Fanatec has always been disapointing and way overrated. Why ? because the owner of Fanatec is nice guy and at he is a real person… comparing to the other brands, that you dont even know how owns it.That helps.
    I dont say they are bad least the GT3RS and 911 GT2 from this year.

    My point are :
    1 Fanatec wheel dont last. Their buttons are not made to be pushed so many times.
    2. they make noise. You have to turn them off if you dont want to hear it.
    3. The shifters are really bad.
    4. you have to be a genius to tune them… Or if you leave it stock, you just want to throw the wheel away.
    5. and their gearbox is really not well designed to be installe on a rig.

    So why nobody is writing about that.
    I never make bad reviews but if this one can help to have the reviewer point out these questions. I did not read one thing about the topics above..

    Dont tell me they improve all that at once…
    I am from Germany and I bought their wheels since the Fanatec Speedster 3…
    So I know pretty much about the subject. And i stll use a Fanatec wheel.. so I am not against at all. I just think the reviews should be a bit more honest.

  10. Dec. 13, 1:01pm

    i have a Logitech Rally Wheel, cost me £13, does the jiob just fine.

  11. Dec. 12, 5:55pm

    Wow, so many arguments in the comments!

    On topic, the wheel doesn’t visually appeal to me, but I’m sure it performs fantastically, would buy one if I had enough cash to dish out for one :p

    But now it’s a question of this vs. the T500RS. Which one’s better?

    • Dec. 13, 9:33am

      The consensus so far is that this wheel is significantly smoother and faster than the T500RS. Also, the force feedback feels much better on the Fanatec (although supposedly the T500RS has a stronger single motor). But the price is obviously more expensive since you still have to buy a set of pedals which will run $150+ (unless you get low-end pedals, but why would you with such a nice wheel?). Note: I haven’t experienced any of this, just summarizing what I have read on the reviews.

  12. Dec. 12, 2:05pm

    I av had 2 dfgts they are good but my t500rs is the muts nuts and the pedals come with it!!! Dfgt pedals are weak t500rs pedals are spot on just waiting for the H shifter

    • Dec. 12, 10:32pm

      The T500RS pedals are terrible. Well I guess they are good compared to DFGT pedals, but don’t even stand a chance against the CSR Elite and Clubsport pedals.

  13. Dec. 12, 6:30am

    Forza wheel? Heresy!!!

  14. Dec. 12, 4:05am

    I don’t know what they mean by “shipping worldwide soon”. Fanatec, although they manufacture goods in China, don’t ship to India. I think the statement needs correction.

  15. Dec. 12, 12:57am

    Thrustmaster T500R is 10 times better than Fanatec!

    • Dec. 12, 3:49am

      On what is that comment of yours based?
      Technically the CSR Elite has the advantage, but only by a small margin by the looks of it. So I am curious why it’s 10 times better.

    • Dec. 12, 7:20am

      Because the superior CSR elite is Forzas official wheel and the T500RS is GTs official wheel. The GT fanboys will come up with any excuse as to why anything forza related is bad, you know, out of jealousy of the superior product :)

  16. Dec. 11, 10:01pm

    This wheel looks ok. I dont have a wheel but if i can choose a wheel it will be logitech steering. It will be odd playing gt5 with a steering wheel that has a forza logo on it.

  17. Dec. 11, 7:59pm

    I still don’t trust Fanatec as a company. I’ll stick with my G27 for now, tyvm.

  18. Dec. 11, 7:56pm

    Who’s to say 1 wheel is better than any other wheel?
    My point is that. $100 wheel or a $2500 wheel won’t make you any faster than the other. If your best lap in say a Super GT @ suzuka is 1:56.7xx with a G27 don’t think for 1 second that if you pay $500 for this fantec that you will shave .1 or more off your time.

  19. Dec. 11, 5:21pm

    My DFGT work’s fine thanx … :)

  20. Dec. 11, 5:12pm

    never considered the thrustmaster T500RS the best choice..

  21. Dec. 11, 11:32am

    ridiculous! It’s like having the rim lamborghini of ferrari -.-

  22. Dec. 11, 10:25am
    Rich S

    More bling bling. $600 is actually affordable if you really care about online racing. Best get a G27 for far less price though unless extremely rich.

  23. Dec. 11, 6:58am

    Last I heard it doesn’t matter to Australians, we’re supposedly not getting it now, and I needed it desperately for multi-platform racing.

  24. Dec. 11, 6:54am

    Awesome review Amar!!
    Basically, it seems the wheel is the best available, which gets me to thinking. Where can wheel companies go from here? You mentioned how FFB came about a decade ago, 900* rotation with the DFP, manual shifters with the G25 and from what your saying all are pretty much perfect on this. So what’s left to improve…?

    It’ll be a couple years before i can justify a purchase like this (student), but it’s nice to know that this sort of tech will filter down the range and hopefully be affordable in time for that next big GT game…

    Thanks for a fantastic review!

    • Dec. 11, 7:06am

      It’s a great wheel I’m sure, but not the best available. Maybe the best for the money, but if you start looking into truly high-end wheels you will be absolutely amazed at how good they really are. ECCI 7000 and the Frex Simwheel come to mind.

      I’m happy that people seem to be initially pleased with the CSR-E, especially since the CSW is supposed to be an upgraded version of this wheel. I can’t wait for them to open pre-orders for the CSW!

  25. Dec. 11, 5:28am
    Magic Ayrton

    That wheel rim is plastic?? and looks totally rubbish.. why did I buy a T500RS?? lol .. Seems to be incredible according to the review and covers foreskin 4 – the non thinking man’s game .. but I am sure that Thrustmaster will up their firmware in GT5 to ward off any competition (hopefully) :S ????

  26. Dec. 11, 4:49am

    Does that wheel have a hole in the compartment behind the wheel or Is it like see-through plastic? I’d be scared I would lose a finger in it or something :S

  27. Dec. 10, 10:31pm

    Will it have what it takes to empty my wallet? YES!

    Seriously, this wheels looks awesome!

    I find it quite funny that it has the Forza logo, but that it willl find a better use in Gran Turismo :D

    • Dec. 11, 1:41am

      If you don’t like Forza, or aren’t interested in Xbox compatibility, you might want to wait the extra 1-2 months and go for the ClubSport wheel.

  28. Dec. 10, 9:53pm

    I personally tested out this wheel with Forza 4 at the Petit Le Mans race in Road Atlanta couple months ago and I personally didn’t like it. I’m not sure maybe people have smashed the crap out of it and abused it, but it didn’t “feel” right at all

    • Dec. 11, 1:40am

      Well, you are one of very few people on this forum who have hands on experience with it. Would you care to explain in a little more detail what you didn’t like about it? Also, what wheel do you normally use?

    • Dec. 11, 2:15am

      The lower-end Fanatec CSR was used at that event, not the CSR Elite (I was also there).

    • Dec. 11, 4:35am

      After taking a look at the picture,, you’re right Jordan.. I wasn’t aware there were two models. i was about to say… that thing did NOT worth 500 bucks hahaha.

  29. Dec. 10, 8:39pm

    This sounds crazy, but I still love my PWTS. The leather stitching is something I would miss, if I ever upgraded.

    • Dec. 10, 8:55pm

      You’d miss it for about 5 mins and that’s not even comparing to the Elite. I tried a regular CSR after owning my PWTS for well over a year and I enjoyed it immensely. However…after I got the CSR my PWTS was up for sale in a day. The CSR is a step up on the PWTS…..going to an Elite is like jumping continents.

  30. Dec. 10, 7:18pm

    eww forza.. lol

    • Dec. 10, 9:37pm

      lol that made me laugh

  31. Dec. 10, 6:27pm

    Come on man, you know that is a terrible argument. People say “oh look at all that money he spent for the wheel/pedals, he could have bought a real car!”

    That is something that ONLY a person who has never owned a dedicated track/race car would say. I could easily spend more in one weekend of real racing than I have spent on my complete system at home for sim racing. Hundreds of dollars in track fees, tires, maintaining a race car, hotel fees (or sleep in the car), gas, food, etc, etc. This is assuming you don’t make a mistake while on the track and run your car into a tire wall. Even someone with a full $10,000 motion rig is still getting off cheap compared to real racing, and they can race at 2am in their underwear if they want.

    • Dec. 10, 6:27pm

      oops, that response was meant for R1600Turbo.

    • Dec. 10, 7:08pm

      superbike81 dude calm down, he said that’s $500 that could go towards buying an actual track car which is very true. It just depends on the size of your pocket at the end of the day. Some will see it as a waste, others think its affordable.

    • Dec. 10, 7:13pm

      No need to tell me to calm down, I’m calm :)

      I just see this argument quite a bit when it comes to mid-range and high-end sim racing gear. When you consider things like the cost of the car, safety equipment, prep, maintenance, tires, track fees, etc…..even $500 won’t get you much closer to having a real track car.

      Those of us fortunate enough to be able to race in real life (I grew up racing karts and Formula Ford, and currently run a Formula Continental) understand that even the most expensive sim racing equipment is a true bargain compared to racing in real life.

      $500 for just a wheel is expensive when compared to something like a Logitech G27 setup, but saying that $500 will be a good portion towards running a track car is flat out wrong. Imagine shooting a squirt gun at a house fire, that’s the equivalent of throwing $500 into your real life racing budget.

    • Dec. 10, 7:36pm

      superbike81, I agree.
      It is a silly argument to make for all the reasons you have given. It’s basically the wheel or a single track day. Now, if you already have a decent wheel like the G27 or GT3 RS, then it’s a bit harder to justify upgrading.

  32. Dec. 10, 5:48pm
    Big Ron

    I spend 180$ for my G25 and I really doubt, that this Fanatac is so much better, that I would spend 500$ for it.

    • Dec. 10, 9:36pm


    • Dec. 11, 10:42pm

      i hope you keep that attitude, it will save you a lot of money. Keep thinking your G25 is the greatest thing ever and be sure not to try any of the more expensive products out there. As soon as you try them, you will realize how wrong you are and immediately begin opening your wallet to buy these $500+ wheels and $200+ pedals, not to mention all the other cool peripherals you can get.

    • Dec. 12, 3:21am
      Big Ron

      Not my problem, when you waste so much money for a game controller not making you faster than using a G25. But hey, it´s your money.

    • Dec. 12, 10:27pm

      It’s not about making me faster. It’s about the level of gaming immersion. My triple screens and my home built cockpit don’t make me any faster either, but I still love them because they increase my level of enjoyment.

  33. Dec. 10, 5:12pm

    This is nothing compared to my Frex wheel :D I’m so happy with it!

    • Dec. 10, 6:35pm

      Spoken like someone who could never accept a wheel that costs $500 could actually possibly compete from a performance perspective to a wheel that costs 5 times as much.

      I won’t even bother to ask if you actually even have 2 mins of seat time behind a CSR E to justify your statement…….my guess is you have zero but to save face you’ll claim you do.

    • Dec. 10, 6:54pm

      I was just kidding anyway.. World never spend 2000 on a wheel that isn’t placed in a Porsche. :) But might buy the G27.. Should be better than my dfgt.

    • Dec. 11, 6:31pm
      I’m Motarded

      This post is typical of a lot of posts in this news section (and even the GTP Forums).
      Quick to shoot down something and bad mouth it even going to such lengths as to lie about a product (they probably can’t afford).. And then even try to play it of as a joke. lol I bet he doesn’t even own a DFGT. O.k maybe because it has a GT logo on it he does.

      GTP = Huge, but most of the members are just straight immature.

      Note: If you are not immature or just a plain idiot obviously this post doesn’t apply to you, but if you feel offended it obviously does.

    • Dec. 11, 8:02pm

      Your comment doesn’t make you look mature either. Acting clever with your thoughts, doesn’t make you look good in many eyes.
      I do have the DFGT, which i enjoy very much. Infact i recommend it, because of the good price :). If you look for a better quality, and can afford to pay over the double, then you should do that. You seem to be offended by my post, don’t be. If you can’t stand that one ‘ironic’ comment is on this forum, then this is not the place for you. You seem like the guy who will reply to every comment on this forum then, since there is a ton of them(including yours)

      Don’t be so offended, most people here are being immature. Including you. Good day sir.

    • Dec. 13, 12:49pm
      GT HP Nut

      haha, well said sir!

  34. Dec. 10, 5:01pm

    Nothing comes close For value and usability than the dfgt. I paid £89 at Argos it’s a bargain

    • Dec. 10, 5:49pm

      Agreed. I would rather put that $500 towards a real track car…

    • Dec. 10, 6:54pm

      $500 won’t even cover expenses of a single track day. Running costs of a real track car are MUCH more expensive than this wheel and pretty much anything associated with sim racing will ever be.

    • Dec. 11, 7:45am

      @superbike, if you actually read the review there is a PC wheel worth $2500, you can buy a cheap Mazda MX5 in the UK for about $1500 and a track day would cost you about $350, grand total $1850, great fun on the track and in a real car. admittedly buying a proper racing car and running it is much more expensive, but i think the point R1600 was saying is that he would much rather go to a track day than spend a large amount on a simulation peripheral

    • Dec. 11, 10:02am

      Yeah, until some company brings in a wheel under $300 I think Logitech is still the best option. And while I’m on my second DFGT; I’ve gotten a lot of use out them. Plus I love the RA adjustment control on the DFGT.

    • Dec. 11, 11:10am

      I got the Fanatec GT3RS V2 for $330, which includes some of the best pedals available today (the ClubSport). No shifter, but that’s an additional $30 or $60 (depending on which shifter you get, the Porsche or CSR shifter). Or you can get the same wheel, with the CSR shifters, and the CSR pedals (which are not the ClubSport, but still nicer than the standard Logictech DFGT pedals) for $280. Or you can get the wheel alone for $180.

      There’s simply no better value than the Fanatec GT3RS.

      I wish I’d gotten the CSR shifter with mine, but I got the Porsche shifter instead. But I did recently upgrade the knob to an aftermarket and it’s pretty sweet. With the Rennsport wheel stand, also a huge bargain at $130, it’s just an awesome rig for $500 total.

    • Dec. 11, 9:20pm

      @NJ72: I know there are $2500 wheels, but this isn’t one of them. Even if it was…… OK, you just bought the MX5, but what abut safety equipment? Helmet, gloves, roll cage, new tires, the maintenance required to get the car safe to drive at high speeds on a circuit? Even then, OK, so you get to go to the track ONE time for that cost, what happens when you want to go back? Is it free?

      A track car will always be more expensive to buy and maintain than a sim racing rig.

    • Dec. 12, 4:36pm

      I’m not saying I can do a whole track day for that much or purchase a track car for that much. But $500 does go a long way towards it…

    • Dec. 15, 10:33pm

      Fanatec wheels are for the more serious, hardcore sim racers. Not the weak casual racers. I race real cars on the track and I race simulation cars and I have no problem supporting both and I’m defintely NOT rich. Sounds more like you logitech kids need a better job……………

  35. Dec. 10, 4:34pm

    If you can afford this wheel, you can afford to mock up a GT logo and stick it on the “horn”

    • Dec. 11, 3:29am

      Haha, so true.

  36. Dec. 10, 4:26pm

    That’s a review? A link to another review? Lol

    • Dec. 10, 5:47pm
      Big Ron


    • Dec. 10, 9:35pm


    • Dec. 10, 11:45pm

      I started to type up a reply to that, but then I stopped myself because I realized there was no point (in replying to people like you).

    • Dec. 11, 7:42am

      @thedrummer, he was joking. it is a strange thing called humour. i found what he said amusing.

    • Dec. 11, 12:59pm

      @NJ72, to be fair you can’t really be sure he was joking unless he tells you (in which case I would apologize), and in the same respect I can’t be sure if he was serious. The amount of comments in this section–I mean people who comment on news posts and aren’t registered in the forums (the ones that would get themselves banned in the forum)–that are just unbearably stupid caused me to assume that this one was as well. But, again, like I said, if he was joking then I do apologize.

    • Dec. 12, 10:07am


  37. Dec. 10, 4:25pm

    Nice wheel but I do my best driving with the ps remote

    • Dec. 11, 12:16am

      i might switch now…from g25 to remote

  38. Dec. 10, 4:23pm

    What kind of price point? Anyone know?

    • Dec. 10, 4:25pm


    • Dec. 10, 5:49pm

      Too much for normal people LOL

    • Dec. 10, 9:51pm
      Chad D.

      $500 for a wheel without a gear shifter? (and essentially without the pedals, because it says its more with the pedals, its like, why would you buy it WITHOUT the pedals? retards.) Nah uh, I don’t think so. lol, I’m good with my G27, way better than that thing.

    • Dec. 11, 9:14pm

      @ChadD I’m not sure if you were serious, but did you really just say your G27 is better than this wheel? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! It doesn’t come with pedals so you can choose your own set. The G27 pedals are complete crap.

    • Dec. 15, 10:29pm

      @chad D. Are you alright kid?? The G27, the whell set I have as well, is NO WHERE near this wheels quality. Stop being a G27 fanboy! I HATE my G27 and very much plan on replacing it and my Playseat Evolution cockpit with this wheel and a far better cockpit.

      Logitech will NEVER be able to produce wheels, pedals, or anything peripheral as good as Fanatec. Logitech wheels are for your average casual racer. Fanatec wheels are for the hardcore, serious racers like myself. Mysef being someone who races real cars on real tracks……

  39. Dec. 10, 4:16pm

    I don’t think i feel comfortable with playing GT5 with a wheel with a FORZA logo…
    Nice wheel tho!

    • Dec. 10, 4:32pm


    • Dec. 10, 6:28pm

      +1 There should have been replacement caps/labels for that area, including a generic one. If I were to get one, it would be to play across all three platforms, PS3, Xbox, and PC.

    • Dec. 10, 7:54pm

      lol yea me too

    • Dec. 10, 9:51pm

      Agreed. The fact that Forza doesn’t seem realistic at all just makes me uncomfortable

    • Dec. 11, 4:08am


    • Dec. 11, 11:51am

      same here!

    • Dec. 11, 6:38pm
      I’m Motarded


      So what bills did that “brand loyalty” pay for you this week? If it affects you so much go get a €1 sticker made to cover it.
      I find it amazing people would see fit to take up page space with post such as these.

    • Dec. 12, 7:15am

      GT fanboyism at it’s finest lol

    • Dec. 12, 10:47am

      A little black masking tape should fix that right up. The wheel is awesome. Pricey, but awesome.

    • Dec. 12, 1:49pm
      Tenacious D

      @ Motarded

      So of course, no Forza fan would mind buying a wheel made for the 360 with a Gran Turismo logo. Right? ;D

    • Dec. 12, 4:44pm
      I’m Motarded

      @ Tenacious D

      Since the situation doesn’t exist we’ll never know. But if it did I would post the same response. In fact I did when people said they felt it would be strange driving a Mercedes or BMW with the Porsche wheels. If you have time to worry about the badge rather than what is going on on-track then you’re not doing something right.

      Funny how many people in the PC community use the DFGT & T500 but I’ve never once seen comments such as the ones above when GT is PS3-only. Hardware=Hardware

    • Dec. 13, 6:45am

      @tenacious D No one would mind buying a high quality MULTIPLATFORM wheel if it had a GT5 logo on it…

  40. Dec. 10, 4:14pm

    cool wheel

  41. Dec. 10, 4:14pm

    Good review, Amar212 ;)

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