Fanatec CSL DD First Reviews: does it live up to the hype?

Fanatec CSL DD Reviews: Up to the Hype?

Certain sim racing YouTubers such as Chris Haye and Boosted Media have been given pre-production verions of Fanatec’s new CSL DD. Here is what they thought of the new wheel base.

Photo credit: Fanatec / OverTake

Fanatec’s upcoming CSL DD wheel base has been the talk of the town in the world of sim racing for a while now. Excitement at the prospect of a relatively affordable direct drive experience has inflated expectations significantly. Now, a select few sim racing YouTubers have been given access to a pre-production model of the CSL DD. Here are their first thoughts and feelings on the new product.

Base Version CSL DD

When it comes to the CSL DD in its basic 5nm form, initial reactions have been quite similar. Chris Haye stated that he felt as though he was driving a normal direct drive wheel, but with the power turned way down. In other words, all of the force feedback information was being relayed to him, but the peaks and troughs were not very significant.

This view was more or less echoed by Will from Boosted Media. He said that he was “amazed with how good this thing feels… when it comes to the fidelity that I’m feeling here, it is every bit as good as a DD1 or DD2”. As with Chris Haye’s opinion, this refers specifically to the fidelity and not to the overall power, which Will agreed was lacking somewhat with the basic 5nm output.

Before even trying the boost kit version of the CSL DD, he stated that he himself would definitely want it. However, for racers who would be upgrading from non-direct drive options, Will feels that the boost kit would not be so necessary.

CSL DD With Boost Kit

Both Chris and the guys at Boosted Media felt a significant upgrade when they used the boost kit version of the CSL DD. Both channels commented on the fact that the car felt heavier and more present with the boost kit, and that it was more in line with what they were used to from high end direct drive wheels.

Will from Boosted Media suggested that the base, 5nm version would be sufficient to be able to get the most out of a sim performance-wise. However, for the sake of realism, the boost kit provides a significant upgrade. Therefore, whether or not the boost kit is a necessary addition for individuals depends on what they are trying to get out of their sim racing experience. If realism is everything, then perhaps the boost kit should be considered.

Non-Gameplay Factors

Chris Haye noted that the passive cooling system for the CSL DD worked a treat, with the wheel base not rising about 40 degrees Celsius at any point when he was using it. Additionally, he felt that the base would be easy to mount to any rig which is compatible with other Fanatec products. Boosted Media, meanwhile, commented on the quietness of the CSL DD relative to other products.

Overall, the first impressions were distinctly positive. Both parties felt that the CSL DD exceeded their expectations for the price range, and that there was little lacking for the CSL DD in comparison to more high-end direct drive products. If there was criticism to be had, it was in the fact that the boost kit only provides up to 8nm, but aside from that there wasn’t a bad word to be said about the product.

What do you think about the CSL DD? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

My name is Jacob and I have been writing for OverTake since November of 2020. I come from the UK, but I'm now living in Berlin. I love to watch, write about and sometimes shout about all forms of racing.