Fanatec has launched a new Gran Turismo-licenced bundle for PC and Playstation, called the DD Extreme that includes the DD+ wheel base. Here’s our full hands-on review.
The Fanatec ClubSport DD+ wheel base has probably had one of the most complicated launches ever.
Alleged delayed licence approvals, technical difficulties in the manufacturer’s Black Friday sale, even more delays and a resulting loss of confidence among many customers.
But finally, there is some movement. Today we can finally show you not only our review of the 15 Nm DD+ wheel base, which we have been testing for some time but also the bundle with the brand-new Gran Turismo Wheel for PlayStation 4 and 5.
Before we go any further, we should point out that this new bundle will work on PC too.
The whole thing is called the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Extreme and, according to the manufacturer, will be available to order and ready to launch from today in the USA, the EU and Australia. It currently states shipping will happen within four to seven days for the initial batch of orders.
What is the Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Extreme?
The second Gran Turismo-branded steering wheel by the 26-year-old German company is this time got its sights set much higher than the entry-level market of the existing DD Pro.
Paired with the ClubSport DD+ wheelbase, the new wheel is only available as part of the Gran Turismo DD Extreme bundle – available for $/€1,299.95 plus shipping and tax. Keep in mind, that some regions like the UK will incur additional import taxes outside of the EU.
Of course, the wheel base is also available as a stand-alone product, compatible with PC, PS4, PS5 and even Xbox. For the latter, an Xbox-licenced wheel is required.
The Fanatec Direct Drive range currently offers a torque range from 5Nm to 25Nm. The CSL product family, which also includes the existing Gran Turismo DD Pro bundle with 8Nm or 5Nm CSL DD, marks the entry point.
The ClubSport DD with 12Nm of force for €799 and the ClubSport DD+ with 15Nm for €999 now sit in the middle of the spectrum, just below the high-end 25Nm Podium Wheel Base DD2.
10-15 Nm servo motors seem to be the sweet spot in the sim racing market right now, so this wheel base was highly anticipated, especially as Fanatec claims the torque values for their new bases are constant as opposed to peak outputs.
If you are just looking for a PC wheelbase, the market is pretty crowded these days. The DD+ (and DD Extreme) compete with the likes of the Moza R12/R16, Simagic Alpha and Asetek La Prima for PC users.
If you are looking for a rival PlayStation-compatible wheel bundle that can output more than 10Nm, your only other choice right now would be the 11Nm Logitech G PRO for around $1000/€1100.
While the 8 Nm DD Pro was a comparatively small, cute, cube, the ClubSport DD+ Base is perhaps understandably not as compact. It has grown considerably in length and width and weighs more than twice as much at 12.64 kg.
Fanatec wheel bases have a very unique design finished in diecast aluminium that follows a function. CS DD & DD+ have a sophisticated fanless cooling system, which contributes significantly to the constant torque performance, even during endurance use.
The bundle includes the new steering wheel, the DD+ base and Fanatec’s new quick release standard, QR2 (pedals sold separately). The ClubSport DD and ClubSport DD+ bases use the Type F QR2, which embeds the electronics in the shaft and is therefore more stable. Keep in mind that it is also possible to downgrade to a QR1 wheel side, in case you want to make your collection of QR1-equipped wheels work.
Some experts may have noticed that the wheel comes with a QR2 Light Wheel-Side Adapter.
This is only rated for up to 8 Nm of torque. But, according to Fanatec, “the QR2 Lite Wheel-Side features a pin that causes certain Steering Wheels to be torque-limited on the ClubSport DD and Podium DD bases (matching the behaviour of the QR1 Lite Wheel-Side).
“However, the QR2 Lite Wheel-Side is far stronger than the QR1 Lite Wheel-Side and was designed in parallel with the Gran Turismo DD Extreme wheel. This means that this wheel does not have a torque limit with the QR2 Lite Wheel-Side, and therefore operates at the full 15 Nm of torque.“
Mounting on your sim rig’s plate is via T-nut sliders on the underside, which conveniently allows for some flexibility in positioning. However, it’s not suitable for front mounting as the front screw points are only for accessories such as dashboards.
All connections for power – USB, shifter, pedals or emergency stop – are at the back and there is also a CAN connection for future Fanatec products.
New Gran Turismo Wheel Hands-On
At first glance, the DD Extreme’s steering wheel looks like the cheaper version from 2021.
But the quality and level of detail have been dramatically improved, designed in collaboration with the Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital and based on road-going sports and GT cars.
As a result, it’s circular without a flat bottom or yoke-style cut-off and wrapped in what’s described as ‘premium vegan leather’.
If the entry-level DD Pro wheel sometimes felt like grabbing hold of some plimsolls, then this is like a Hyundai N or Ford ST wheel by comparison, with a 300mm diameter rim and slight squash upon gripping the wheel that we felt exuded automotive-grade quality. It fits the theme very well, as you drive a lot of street cars in Gran Turismo.
Around the rear are four paddles – two are magnetic for gearshifts, and the lower duo are for use as analogue clutches or even as the brake and throttle should pedals not be connected.
We think the aluminium paddle plates and satisfying magnetic shift action are night and day different to the plastic items on the existing Gran Turismo wheel – less of a toy and more of a sim racing product.
We can see the clutch paddles being ideal for those on PC, who will want to use these for the latest Assetto Corsa mod or Automobilista 2, but currently, there’s no way of using these to find your bite point within Gran Turismo 7 as the option within the control set-up does not exist.
On its face, there are 19 RGB LEDs which in our testing on Gran Turismo 7 were illumined in white, with game developers having the option to customise these in the future. For those on PC, they can be adjusted from the get-go through the FanaLab software.
Speaking of developer input, there’s now a 2.7” OLED display which you can cycle through various telemetry readouts. Fanatec calls this system Intelligent Telemetry Mode (ITM), previously used on the Podium Button Module.
Well, in Gran Turismo 7 at present, it just displays your speed, but the hope is that platform creators can adapt this to match their specific game’s information. You can also access the Tuning Menu to adjust for example force feedback strength or the rotation up to 2520 degrees on the fly.
A key element is the seven-way FunkySwitch at the bottom left of the wheel, which can also act as a rotary encoder. When tested, it allowed us to quickly dial down settings such as traction control or brake bias on the fly.
Full Force Introduction
Something that will be added later is the new ‘Full Force’ protocol, which on paper sounds rather similar to Logitech’s ‘Trueforce’. Full Force will supposedly allow for lower latency and much finer effects calculated at 16,000 Hz. The data points and effects used for this can be very individual for each sim racing title or game.
So far, we only tested the demo of this on iRacing at last year’s ADAC SimRacing Expo as the implementation is dependent on the platform developers. Consequently, Polyphony has yet to implement this in Gran Turismo 7 sadly.
The slider for the strength of the Full Force effect already exists in the wheelbase tuning settings, so you will be able to turn it off as well.
This not being available at launch, unfortunately, continues the story of delays and perhaps premature communication, same with the ITM not working in Gran Turismo yet.
The biggest upside to a device like this for someone who drives on both PC and Gran Turismo 7 is a lack of the annoying back-and-forth swap to another wheel base. And the second big step up is the increased torque of the motor.
When using a Moza R9, for example, you may need to crank up the in-game force feedback settings to feel the steering and effects properly, which can lead to clipping. That’s not the case with the DD Extreme (DD+), thankfully.
In terms of smoothness, driving feel and being constant even after being used for several hours, the DD+ is ideal for most use cases.
The main appeal is the feedback, and it always felt strong and detailed when driven with our most-used titles. iRacing, AC, ACC, AMS2, EA Sports WRC, DiRT Rally 2.0 and even older releases – all functioned without a problem thanks to the Fanatec SDK support.
FanaLab also has several presets and recommendations to begin with, offering detailed settings for advanced users to further fine-tune. The app looks outdated in 2024, but it does the job. We tested it in combination with ClubSport V3 pedals, a Moza HPB handbrake and the Fanatec ClubSport shifter plus the Podium module with the Porsche wheel.
With Gran Turismo 7 especially, the DD+ provided a revelatory experience.
With the DD Pro of a Thrustmaster TGT II, GT7 never felt serious. The DD+, however, takes it to another level. The cars are much more responsive. Behaviour is more authentic and adds a ton of immersion, making this by far the best console racing experience I have ever had.
The racing cars in particular are very sharp and a joy to steer into corners or over curbs. The presence of more force helps to create muscle memory, and this is a crucial element for consistent racing.
The Definitive GT7 Wheel Base, Soon…
The Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Extreme is certainly not cheap and Fanatec really needs to work on its fulfilment, timing, customer service and communication. But once you get your hands on this product, it is a transformative experience with a vibrant Fanatec ecosystem to further expand.
Yet, at the end of the review, on the day of the wheel’s release, there is still no Gran Turismo 7 update for the correct button mapping, we don’t know which developers will use Full Force, the lights or the display and the wheel is missing from the official Fanatec recommendations and support websites.
Let us hope that the relatively minor negative aspects (or, ‘potential’) mentioned are a thing of the past soon after launch, as the DD Extreme bundle delivers by far and away the best console driving experience to date, and the DD+ is an ideal mid-range direct drive device for PC sim racers too.
Do you like the sound of the Gran Turismo DD Extreme? Let us know in the comments below or on X, @OverTake_gg.
Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Extreme Specifications At A Glance
- Includes Fanatec DD+ wheel base and Gran Turismo DD Extreme wheel with QR2 quick release
- 300mm diameter wheel with five-way directional sticks, RGB LED rings, RGB RevLEDs and FlagLEDs, 2.7” OLED display and seven-way FunkySwitc
- Magnetic shift paddles
- Analogue clutch paddles
- 15Nm of constant direct drive torque
- FullForce protocol compatible
- $/€1,299.95 (excluding shipping and tax)