FANATEC ClubSport Wheel Version 2 PERFECTION JUST GOT BETTER This overview presents new Fanatec CSW V2 wheelbase paired with high-end Fanatec gear: CSW wheelbase, CSW GT2 Rim, CS Steering Wheel Universal Hub with two rims and CSPV2 pedals All of driving fans interested in driving peripherals have become very excited during the August, when Fanatec started to tease the new product in their great lineup. The reveal in final week of the September resolved the mystery: the new product in the Fanatec lineup is the new generation of the famous ClubSport Wheel wheelbase, better known as CSW - CSW V2. First CSW was result of the 3-year development process with intention to built the absolute best foundation for the modular philosophy of modern driving peripherals and give equal opportunity to PC and PlayStation users to have one device that will serve them for all simulations they love. First CSW managed to do exactly that: it was the pinnacle of the class, made to cater complete Fanatec eco-system of attachments and other peripherals and it conquered the sim-world over night. CSW became the ultimate wheel for majority of sim-fans who wanted to have either the best wheel in the market-segment or best possible cross-platform solution for the sims of their choice. I am user of the Fanatec products for more than 6 years now and I had a chance to feel and experience the drastic rise of the CS lineup-performance through this decade. My first Fanatec wheel was Porsche GT3 RS V2, replaced with Fanatec GT2 in order to get Xbox360 compatibility on top of the PC/PS3. As soon as Fanatec announced Fanatec CSR Elite, I got a chance to own it and I was absolutely amazed by its performance. In early 2013 I became a proud owner of the first CSW wheel and CSW simply replaced Thrustmaster T500RS as my PC/PS3 wheel of choice. And now, 18 months later, I got a chance to beta-test CSW successor and there is simply no doubt about the conclusion I am making in the very start of this overview: ClubSport Wheel V2 is the best wheel I have ever tried in my life. In my personal opinion no other wheel available in the market today comes close with sensation, performance, features, price trade-offs or visual impression. Many that visit Sim Racing Hardware sub-forum have already been able to read great in-depth impressions form other GTP members that were part of the CSWV2 testing. Their impressions and reviews cover vast field of technical and performance details, and you can find the links to their reviews at the end of this article. As before with my overviews, I tried to focus on the performance regarding PS3 and Gran Turismo 6 and here are my impressions for the CSWV2. SENSATION My review of the CSWV2 comes few weeks late than others simply because I had to wait for the Gran Turismo 6 1.12 update that introduced completely new FFB effects and significantly changed the existing FFB for the wheels. As many are aware, because of the issues some wheel users had with "original" 1.12 update, Polyphony patched the original FFB update with new one in days after the 1.12 release. That patch somewhat influenced the FFB portrayal for all wheels - CSWV2 included - but it was the move in the right direction and gave completely new sensation of driving the Gran Turismo - making it feel significantly closer to PC simulations. Thanks to its unique construction and mechanical solutions, CSWV2 provides the best FFB feel for Gran Turismo 6 I have ever tried. There are two main sensations that are present all the time and no other wheel on the market can match those: STRENGTH and SMOOTHNESS. The new mechanics and motors provides great amount of power and FFB strength that simply can't be matched by other wheels, even original CSW. In the same time, significant improvements in the construction and technology gives insane smoothness and precision of steering, with no damping, no linearity issues and no steering delay. The sensation of steering is so crisp and clear, that it asks for some adaptation period, even when coming from T500RS or first CSW (as myself). But once the brain get used to fact how there is no buffer between the wheel and input, there is simply no way back to the old wheel, whichever that be - including original CSW. I tested CSWV2 very extensively: on all types of cars, with all types of tires, in both offline and online physics, and results are equally impressive. CSWV2 simply makes GT6 becomes more "alive" than with all other wheels. Driving stock NXS with CM tires is equally great as driving Super GT NSX on RH compound. Level of information that comes at the rim have been vastly improved with the GT6 1.12 update and CSWV2 reads and transfers all those information into the unprecedented sensation of driving. When entering the corner, the tension is strong and rigid, while you can absolutely feel the point where your tires are (despite the fact how GT6 is not comparable with snap-feel such as in Assetto Corsa for example) and wheat are they doing. That feel was present even before 1.12 update, but after the update, the feel became really alive. Those that are following my personal thoughts about Gran Turismo's sensation of driving know that I am promotor of the non-assists and non-ABS driving in order to meet the full potential of the simulation model. After 1.12 update and with CSWV2 (and CSPV2), I could finally drive my ultimate object of passion in Gran Turismo games (and wider): Ferrari F40 on Comfort Hard tires, with no assists, no ABS and with all simulation options enabled. Feeling of power and torque, with FFB sensation provided by the CSWV2, is simply something that couldn't be previously experienced on consoles. But how does the wheel FEEL? Well, it is very hard to explain in words, simply because various attributes I have been using in this overview (and all other testers in their reviews) simply can't put the feel in the reader's hands. I could write a 1000 words essay on the newfound love for the weight-shifting when driving F40 on CH up and down the slopes at the Trial Mountain, with distinct and clear feel of every wheel and play of the suspensions while counter steering the untenable beast - but even such essay couldn't paint a proper picture of the actual sensation. It is simply totally different feel of all other wheels I have ever tried. I remember how impressed I was when I upgraded from my Logitech DFP to G25. I also remember the upgrade from G25 to CSR Elite and than a stellar jump from CSR Elite to the first ClubSport Wheel. New CSWV2 is more like two of those steps when consoles are in concern, first because of the FFB power and strength - which is unlike any other wheel can even closely produce - and then comes the smoothness of steering, which is really a sensation universe of its own. Yes, I am completely aware of Leo Bodnar Direct Drive wheel and very possible Fanatec's direct drive wheel - but both of those solutions are either almost impossible to come by, don't exist at all and are (theoretically) much, much expensive than CSWV2. And they are not compatible with anything besides PC games. To conclude this part of the overview, I find CSWV2 the best wheel for driving Gran Turismo 6 ever made. I know that such conclusion sounds like some blindfold hype or ultimate hyperbolic panegyric, but I fully stand behind it. As the owner of almost all wheels ever made in past decade, it is the only conclusion that comes to my mind. I know some will always prefer the light and cogging feel of the G25/G27, while others will object the price-point for T500RS and overall investment value. I can relate to both of those points of critique because I am fully aware of both of them. But when speaking from the actual sensation and versatility - with other factors I will tackle briefly below, in my opinion there is no dispute. CSWV2 is simply the best cross-platform wheel ever produced. PERFORMANCE CSWV2 wheelbase uses some truly advanced technology to create its unique sensation of driving. You can read a great in-depth overviews of actual technology used in CSWV2 by GTP members eKretz and Logiforce I have linked below, that are covering the major improvements related to CSWV2 amazing performance: belt drive, DirectSensor Technology hall sensors, and very strong brushless servo motor. All of them are paired together with the goal to deliver the best FFB sensation imaginable (related to the price point, of course - I do not negate the existence of the Frex FFB wheel or Leo Bodnar Direct Drive wheel, but both of them cost few times more than complete CSW eco-system and are not easily available, nor compatible with PS3) with great success. The best thing about the power (strength of FFB) is how it can be adjusted through 3 separate parameters when CSWV2 is used in either GT6 or in PC simulations. First, it can be adjusted through in-game FFB setting, firmware FFB setting (on the wheel - which I never use it because of clipping) and finally, with CSW unique FOR (motor power force) setting - which I find most useful, because with FOR on 110 I can pretty much eliminate any artificial deadzone from the game's own FFB engine and play with the desired FFB strength without going in the game options. The FOR setting can be adjusted from 0 to 150 and it gives the option to drastically change the FFB feel when in-game without going at the menus. Speaking strictly of Gran Turismo 6, if you opt to use in-game FFB setting on 10, with FF wheel-setting on 100 and with FOR on 150... Well, in this case we are speaking about absolute crazy sensation of power, matched only by insane arcade-cabinets of the 90's, such as SEGA Daytona or Ferrari F355 Challenge ones. To be honest, if you use such high settings, there is no way you will be able to drive fast times, simply because sheer strength of the FFB and need to invest significant own strength to turn the wheel and make the car turn into apex - but in the same time it will make you finally appreciate the effort and time that real-life racing are putting in their physical strength. After three laps in any racing car in GT6 with those settings, you will be sweating. Completely. And honestly smiling in the same time. I really love how CSWV2 can achieve crazy amount of torque-feel, unlike on any other wheel. It is simply amazing way to drastically change the overall sensation of the game, from Gran Turismo 6 to F1 2013, or (my personal driving-underdog of the generation, Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends). Such setting (10/100/150) can't be used for competitive driving (in order to achieve faster times or drive competitively in the multiplayer) simply because FFB is too strong and asks for a completely different approach to driving. But in the same time, it allows for unparalleled sensation of torque which gives great feel of the real tires/suspension/surface. For my "normal" GT6 driving I am using in-game FFB at 3, 100 for FFB on-wheel and 110 FOR setting (because of deadzone elimination). For other Fanatec wheel-setting, I have them set to OFF for the PS3: DRI, LIN, SPR - all OFF. FEATURES As many probably know, CSWV2 (and all other Fanatec wheels) are using custom-emulation firmware when connected to PS3 console. So, all functionalities regarding PS3 are there, with notable exception of "PS XMB" button (same as on G25/G27 for example). In order to access "PS XMB" button when using CSWV2, you have to have PS3 controller signed to console to serve as bypass to PSXMB button functionalities. Due to pretty different layout of the buttons on CSW rims and aesthetic-factor that deliberately corresponds with looks of the real-life racing wheel, it takes some time to get used to button-placement and positions. But after some re-mapping and few hours of use you will use any rim without any problems either for XMB menu navigation or within menus of every PS3 game. ClubSport V2 wheelbase is exactly what it says: wheelbase. To actually use it, you will need a compatible rim and pedals, while advanced users will opt for the shifter. Fanatec eco-system provides many solutions for building personal setup, from great choice of different rims, over CSL cockpit solution, different models of pedals (G25/G27 pedals can also be used on Fanatec wheels with simple adapter), all the way to superb CSS Shifter and CS Handbrake. Depending of the choice of accessories, the price for the finished CSWV2 setup can go into significant heights when compared to other solutions on the market. But I think everyone who tried it will agree how such investment is completely approved by the final result. It has to be said that actual CSWV2 unit looks great in details. I made a quick photo-shooting with both CSW and CSW V2 and differences become more noticeable there. GTP's eKretz made an in-depth overview for the comparison of Fanatec CSW and CSWV2, so please find that overview linked below. I like the overall darker appearance of the wheel, as well as great detail of brushed aluminum edge on the front. The new fan is probably a final long-term solution for the overheating experienced on CSW units, and I welcome that. I absolutely appreciate the ability to mount CSWV2 on the 100% same mount as all my other Fanatec wheels and that kind of compatibility is highly welcome. I am using CSWV2 with the BMW GT2 and Formula rims, while for this overview I had a chance to try it with the two new rims and Fanatec Universal Hub - beautiful ClubSport Round 1 leather rim and ClubSport GT alcantara sports rim. New brushless servo motor - that delivers more than 7Nm of torque - copes with weight of all rims with no problems, even for the the BMW GT2 rim. I have Fanatec CSPV2 pedals and Frex Shifter+ sequential shifter - all mounted on the Fanatec CSL cockpit. PERFECTION GETS BETTER As I already pointed out many times, the sensation of driving CSWV2 is nothing short but amazing. Driving is smooth and precise (thanks to new motor and sensors) and I simply can't go back to the original CSW. It is the same feeling I had when I upgraded my original CSP pedals with the CSPV2. Evolution is really big and significant. From my point of view, CSWV2 is an great evolution for the CSW lineup. Some of the original CSW owners - myself included - had different issues with their CSW units: from issues with motors, overheating, belt tension and such. Fanatec obviously worked hard to fix all those issues and managed to build a completely new foundation that will almost certainly eliminate any reliability issues in the future. One very important thing is worth highlighting: the future compatibility of the CSWV2 wheelbase. At this point, CSWV2 is 100% compatible only with PC and PlayStation 3 console. There were many talks about the compatibility of the existing wheels (not only Fanatec) with the new generation of consoles - PS4 and XboxOne - and at this moment CSWV2 is not compatible with any of them. Fanatec has clearly said how the PS4/XboxOne compatibility for the CSWV2 is extremely high on their priority list and how company is investing significant effort to secure the licensing. At the moment of writing of this overview, Fanatec has just announced the official compatibility for the XboxOne, while the possible compatibility with the Sony PlayStation 4. is yet to be announced. If and when such compatibility becomes reality, the CSWV2 wheelbase will ask for purchasing an additional PS4/XboxOne compatible rims to secure the actual compatibility (the infamous "security chips" for either consoles will be inside those rims, not in the unit itself, as it was with CSR Elite cross-platform model for example). Until than, we can only rely on the message from Fanatec that said how CSWV2 is built with idea of securing the 10-year longevity. I hope how the plan for both current-generation consoles will become a reality very soon. But this way or another, CSWV2 still remains the best wheel available on the market and the best wheel to play Gran Turismo 6 with. With CSP pedals V3 already unofficially teased, new evolution of the amazing CSS Shifter that has been announced yesterday and all beautiful rims to choose for CSWV2, Fanatec ClubSport family of products further secures its strong place in the competitive space of driving peripherals. I am really convinced that future will bring even more great developments from Fanatec and I can't wait to learn about them. For further overviews of the CSWV2 wheelbase, please look for the in-depth articles by respected GTP members: HoiHman's Fanatec ClubSport Wheel Base V2 review eKretz's CSW V1/V2 comparo/review with amazing hardware/technical analysis Logiforce's One Wheel To Rule Them All? overview There are also many useful information in few Fanatec-related threads in the Sim Racing Hardware GTP sub-forum, so please check them as well for other opinions and overviews: Fanatec Announcements: CSW V2 Reviews Out Fanatec CSW/CSR Elite Modders Thread Ekretz Modded CSW V1 comparison to Beta V2 NOTICE: Testing of the Fanatec CSWV2 was made with 056 firmware and 1.12 version of Gran Turismo 6. I thank to Ivo for letting me use his CSW Universal Hub and both rims, to all members of GTSurgeons.com driving community who are always doing their best to test and comment all new developments in virtual racing, to Jordan for always being supportive of my work and to all GTPlanet.net buddies who are always objective and real about everything that is related to driving. All photographs in this overview are taken by me and are subject to copyright, but if anyone wishes to use them please do it in the good will and under common rules of the Creative Common license. I am looking forward to all comments and opinions regarding this overview. Thank you for reading.