Fanatec Reveals All-New Gran Turismo DD Extreme Wheel: Full Review

Fanatec has just revealed the “Gran Turismo DD Extreme”, a completely new product which is now the flagship in terms of Gran Turismo-branded hardware and will be used at all Gran Turismo World Series live events moving forward.

The wheel is only available to purchase on the company’s website and is ready for shipping in the US, Europe, and Australia. Full specifications and details can be found at the regional affiliate links below:

Fanatec sent over a pre-release version so we could get an early look, and there’s a lot to talk about:

Table of Contents

What Is This Thing?

The Gran Turismo DD Extreme bundle

To understand what the Gran Turismo DD Extreme is, it helps to review a brief history of Fanatec’s product line.

In 2021, the company revealed the CSL DD, a relatively low-cost, PC-only, direct-drive wheel base which puts out up to 8 Nm of torque with an optional “boost kit” power adapter. Ahead of GT7’s launch, the company released the Gran Turismo DD Pro, a bundle which included a CSL DD wheel base with added PlayStation compatibility, a Gran Turismo-branded steering wheel, and CSL pedals.

Now, the company is revealing new, higher-end direct-drive wheel bases, the ClubSport DD and ClubSport DD+. The DD has a 12 Nm motor and is compatible only with PC, while the DD+ has a more powerful 15 Nm motor and is compatible with both PC and PlayStation 4 and 5.

That all brings us to the Gran Turismo DD Extreme, which is the DD+ wheel base packaged with a new Gran Turismo-branded steering wheel.

The ClubSport DD+ wheel base is priced at $999 US dollars or €999 euros, and the Gran Turismo DD Extreme bundle is priced at $1,299 US dollars or €1,299 euros, so you are essentially getting the wheel included for $300. It’s worth noting this wheel is exclusive to the DD Extreme package and will not be sold separately.

The ClubSport DD+ Wheel Base

First, we need to talk about the wheel base.

Both the ClubSport DD+ and its little brother, the ClubSport DD, are important products as they represent something of a turning point for the Fanatec ecosystem.

Built-in QR2 (Type-F)

QR2 (Type-F) Base Side attachment

This is the first wheel base designed from the ground-up with Fanatec’s new QR2 Quick Release system. There is a lot to say about QR2, but what you need to know is that it is Fanatec’s new mounting system which connects its wheels to its wheel bases — and it’s pretty great.

Since QR2 adapters were released for older wheels and wheel bases just a few months ago, it has been widely praised as easier to use and significantly more durable. Most importantly, it creates a tighter connection, which means there will be less flexing in the shaft. This results in a more responsive wheel and more detail in the force feedback signal.

QR2 Wheel-Side mounting area on the back of the GT DD Extreme wheel

Because the ClubSport DD bases have been designed for QR2 from the outset, these are currently the only bases in the Fanatec line-up with the QR2 Type-F base-side adapter. The Type-F adapter includes integrated electronics, which Fanatec claims makes the shaft even stronger and more stable.

Of course, this means that if you have an older wheel you want to use with a ClubSport DD base, you will need to upgrade it with a QR2 wheel-side adapter. If your old wheel is not compatible with those adapters, Fanatec says it also plans to release a QR1 downgrade option for the ClubSport DD base sometime in the future.

FullForce Force Feedback

Because ClubSport DD wheel bases are fully integrated with QR2, they are also the only current Fanatec bases which support the company’s new “FullForce” force feedback system.

Existing force feedback protocols were developed when sim-racing hardware was dominated by gear and belt-driven wheels. FullForce is a new protocol developed by Fanatec specifically for its direct-drive motors which enable high-frequency effects, calculated at 16,000Hz with ultra-low latency.

The only issue is, because it is such new technology, no games actually support FullForce at the time of this review. Fanatec says it is working closely with a wide range of game developers, including Polyphony Digital, to bring FullForce support to as many titles as possible.

Considering this is the new flagship wheel base for GT7, it should be a showcase for the technology and hopefully Polyphony Digital can get the most out of it. We will be testing FullForce as soon as we can, so keep an eye on GTPlanet for more information as soon as it becomes available.

15 Nm Direct Drive Motor

Cutaway view of the ClubSport DD motor

As mentioned, the Gran Turismo DD Extreme package includes the ClubSport DD+ wheel base which features a direct-drive motor capable of producing up to 15 Nm of sustained torque.

Fanatec is, of course, quite proud of its engineering efforts on this motor, claiming it has the “best thermal performance in its class” to provide more consistent and stable output even in the “most extreme conditions”. This is impressive considering the unit is passively cooled; there is no fan, no gears, and no belts — it is completely silent.

Fanatec also says the motor has the fastest slew rate in its class, which is a measure of the motor’s responsiveness. This means the motor can react faster to changes in the electrical input signal coming from the game, and will be an important factor when producing the higher-frequency FullForce effects mentioned earlier.

Compatibility and Connectivity

Out of the box, the ClubSport DD+ base is compatible with Windows PCs and both the PlayStation 4 and 5. And, thanks to a clever workaround, the base can also be used with Xbox game consoles if you attach an Xbox-licensed steering wheel.

The wheel base operates in one of five different modes which you can cycle through by pressing the power button repeatedly. You can tell which mode the wheel is in by looking at the color of the lighted power button: purple for PS4/PS5 Compatibility mode, yellow for PC Compatibility mode, blue for PS5 mode, light blue for PS4 mode, and red for PC mode.

In case you’re wondering, the Compatibility modes make the wheel appear to games as an older ClubSport Wheel Base so they will continue to work, though you won’t be able to use all of the wheel’s newer features. It can be easy to forget you are in the wrong mode, so unless you know you need to use a Compatibility mode for a very specific reason, always be sure that you are running the base in a normal mode with a bright red or bright blue light on the button.

It connects to game consoles or PCs through a USB-C port on the back, and comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable. Other ports connect the power supply, two shifter ports, pedals, and a handbrake. Notably, the base also includes a CAN bus port which will supposedly be used to connect future Fanatec peripherals in a more efficient way.

Speaking of peripherals, the ClubSport DD is compatible with all Fanatec steering wheels and pedals, though as mentioned earlier wheels need to be updated with a QR2 adapter or the ClubSport DD will need to be downgraded with a QR1 adapter. It is also compatible with the ClubSport Shifter, ClubSport Handbrake, and all Fanatec cockpits.

It’s worth noting the base does not come with a table clamp out of the box, so you will need to purchase that as an additional accessory if you don’t plan on mounting it to a driving rig. For driving rigs, the wheel base supports Fanatec’s T-nut rail system on both the bottom and the sides of the housing.

Gran Turismo DD Extreme Steering Wheel

Now we come to what makes the Gran Turismo DD Extreme package so unique: the steering wheel. This is a 300 mm wheel wrapped in vegan leather and was designed in collaboration with Polyphony Digital. As it was also designed with the QR2 system and the ClubSport DD+ base from the outset, it is able to operate with the base running at its full 15 Nm of torque.

Buttons and Paddles

It includes 11 buttons in a familiar PlayStation controller layout, along with a 7-way FunkySwitch that also serves as a push-button and rotary dial. The rotary dial has a nice click to it, and can be used to quickly scroll through menus in Gran Turismo 7. It also includes four 5-way directional sticks which provide instant access to the various settings in GT7’s Multi-Function Display, like traction control, brake balance, fuel consumption, and torque distribution.

On the back, the wheel features aluminum paddles with a magnetic shifting action and two programmable analog clutch paddles.

OLED Display

The real star of the show here is the 2.7’’ OLED display, which serves two purposes.

Tuning Menu

Tuning Menu

First, it provides access to the wheel’s Tuning Menu, and I can tell you this is the best tuning menu I have ever seen on a sim-racing wheel; the large screen size makes it really easy to see exactly what you are doing. I was also glad to see Fanatec’s developers put all of that screen real estate to good use, displaying a brief description of what each setting actually does.

To access the Tuning Menu, you press a small button near the display. This activates the 7-way directional switch to control the menu and navigate through the various settings.

There are five settings profiles that you can save in the wheel, or you can use the automatic settings as programmed by the developers of whatever game you are playing. Each setting profile has all of the standard Fanatec tuning options in addition to a specific setting for the strength of the FullForce effects.

Intelligent Telemetry Mode

Intelligent Telemetry Mode Demo

The most interesting and exciting use of the OLED display is called Intelligent Telemetry Mode.

Although it must be supported by game developers, it makes full use of the screen to show virtually anything. Even better, on PC at least, it is fully programmable using the FanaLab software and can display whatever you want.

Assetto Corsa Competizione on PC is the first title to support Intelligent Telemetry Mode and gives a look at what this feature will be like as more games support it. By default, the game shows your gear and speed in the middle of the display, flanked by your lap count and race position on the left and your lap times on the right. Using FanaLab, you can set it to show fuel levels, traction control settings, tire temperatures, and more.

As of the time this review was created, Gran Turismo 7 does not yet support Intelligent Telemetry Mode, but as with FullForce support I suspect this will arrive soon. If a game does not support Intelligent Telemetry Mode, it simply works in “legacy mode” and shows basic data like the currently selected gear.

Programmable LEDs

FanaLab software LED programming screen

The FanaLab software can also be used to customize the 19 different RGB LEDs on the wheel. This includes a diffused rev strip which shows your engine RPMs, the illuminated RGB rings around each of the 5-way directional sticks, and the curious new “Flag LEDs” near the center of the wheel.

The “Flag LEDs” are a set of six narrow RGB lights near the middle of the wheel, stacked in threes on each side. Like the Intelligent Telemetry Mode, it’s going to be up to developers as to how, exactly, to use them. As we can see in FanaLab, in addition to on-track flag colors, a few options include showing when the pit lane speed limiter is in effect, wheel spin, traction control, DRS, and more.

Gran Turismo DD Pro vs Gran Turismo DD Extreme

DD Pro (Left) vs. DD Extreme (Right)

The older Gran Turismo DD Pro will continue to be sold alongside this new Gran Turismo DD Extreme. This means Fanatec is now producing two Gran Turismo-branded products, and I think it’s worth taking a closer look at exactly how these two bundles compare to one other.

Of course, the newer and more expensive DD Extreme outshines the DD Pro in every category. The most obvious upgrades are in terms of wheel force, which jumps from 5 or 8 Nm to 15 Nm, and wheel size, which jumps from 280 mm to 300 mm.

The actual wheel of the older DD Pro was always its weakest point, with a tacky-feeling rubberized rim and the worst plastic paddle shifters I have ever used. As for the DD Extreme’s wheel, although it’s not perfect — and I’ll get to that in a bit — it is light years ahead of the DD Pro’s. The buttons and switches have been upgraded, the screen is amazing, the vegan leather feels so much better on your hands, and the larger size makes the wheel look and feel more realistic.

DD Pro (Left) vs. DD Extreme (Right)

Personally, however, I think the most significant upgrade available in the DD Extreme will be FullForce support. I am a huge fan of higher-frequency vibrations and if FullForce turns out to be anything like the similar technologies from Logitech or Thrustmaster, it has the chance to be a literal game-changer which transforms how games like Gran Turismo 7 feel to play.

Having said all that, the older DD Pro is still a pretty good value. It’s a widely-supported direct-drive wheel in Fanatec’s ecosystem, it can be upgraded to support QR2 Quick Release, and don’t forget: it includes a set of the excellent (and upgradeable!) Fanatec CSL pedals.

Driving Impressions

As for driving impressions — with Gran Turismo 7 in particular — it feels a bit premature to talk about that because, as of writing, FullForce is not yet integrated into the game.

I had the chance to preview this wheel and speak with Fanatec staff at the GT World Series Finals in Barcelona and, from what they had to say, FullForce is going to be a significant development and will likely be one of the biggest reasons to go with this wheel when it does come out.

Even without FullForce, however, there are benefits to be had from the upgraded motors, the higher slew rate, and the larger diameter wheel. Compared to the DD Pro, it felt like I had a bit more information about what the suspension was doing, especially when driving softer road cars. For stiffer race cars, it feels a bit more responsive, probably thanks to that slew rate. It feels like I have a few extra milliseconds to react to what the car is doing.

To be clear, it’s not a revolution by any means, especially without FullForce. If you don’t like GT7’s force feedback, this isn’t going to change your mind, but it’s still better.

The power output from the DD Extreme is extremely strong and smooth. During my testing, I never experienced any loss of performance even when using the wheel at higher power settings for extended periods of time. I have no doubt you could run an endurance race on the DD Extreme with whatever settings you wanted with no loss of performance.

The reality is that as direct-drive wheels become more commonplace in this range of the market, it’s starting to get more difficult to differentiate between them. That’s where the more nuanced things like slew rate, sustained torque values, and proprietary force feedback protocols like FullForce are going to become much more important in the wheel market moving forward, and all of those things are tipping in favor of the ClubSport DD+ base and the DD Extreme.

Is The GT DD Extreme Worth It?

If you are watching this review, you probably fall into one of two camps. You either have a Gran Turismo DD Pro and are wondering if you should upgrade, or you are in the market for a new wheel and are trying to decide which model to buy.

Obviously, it’s up to you to determine if these features are worth it, but as someone with both of these wheels I can give you my opinions.

It’s Not Perfect

As I just mentioned, the Gran Turismo DD Extreme is great, but it’s not perfect. My only real critiques are with the vegan leather material and the directional switches.

I have owned many leather-wrapped steering wheels over the years, and there is always something special about unboxing and holding them for the first time. They are typically soft and supple, and smell almost like a new car. It makes you feel like you are using a premium product or — dare I say it — a luxury item.

The “vegan leather” on the DD Extreme does not have that same feeling (or smell!). It is not particularly soft to the touch, and it looks and feels thin; I can’t help but wonder about the long-term durability of this material over the years. It’s… OK, but it’s not great.

Likewise, the directional switches are… underwhelming. They have a plastic feel as they actuate, and they don’t feel particularly satisfying or precise to use. They do provide a solid click and sound when pressed so you know you’ve done something, but it feels like my finger needs to travel a bit further and with a bit more force than I would like it to.

This is a bigger issue with the primary 7-way directional switch, as you’ll be using it extensively to navigate menu-heavy games like Gran Turismo 7. It becomes a bit of a chore to keep pushing it around, though the knob’s rotating feature has the opportunity to become a quick way to blast through menu screens once you get used to it.

All of these drawbacks are almost certainly cost-cutting measures, designed to keep the price of the DD Extreme from getting completely out-of-control. It’s just unfortunate those measures had to impact the parts of the wheels your hands actually touch!

The Big Picture

Despite a few shortcomings with the rim itself, I think Gran Turismo DD Extreme is pretty much a slam-dunk and arguably the best choice for Gran Turismo 7. And, when we zoom out and look at the bigger picture, it’s easy to see just how much this package has going for it, especially as a long-term investment.

First, it has one of the most powerful and responsive direct-drive motors on the market. More power is always better, but I think 15 Nm of sustained torque will be more than enough for the vast majority of people out there.

Second, this is Fanatec’s first wheel base built from the ground-up with QR2, and the QR2 quick release system is foundational technology for the company’s ecosystem that it will build upon for years or even decades to come.

Next is the wheel’s support for FullForce. Considering Fanatec’s market share and prominence in the industry, I suspect it will be quickly implemented by all of the top game developers. I also suspect it will be quite popular, and as it continues to evolve it will start to make the older Fanatec wheel bases feel obsolete over time.

Last but certainly not least is the fact the DD Extreme is standing on a literal mountain of compatible accessories in the Fanatec ecosystem. If you don’t like the wheel on the DD Extreme, you can get something else.

You have plenty of other wheels to choose from, along with a range of pedals, shifters, handbrakes, and other upgrades. This flexibility allows you to easily build around the DD+ wheel base as your needs change over time, and the fact you can even make it Xbox-compatible with a licensed steering wheel means that you won’t have to worry about being locked in to a specific group of platforms.

That’s worth a lot, and makes it very easy to recommend the Gran Turismo DD Extreme.

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