For a few years now, Fanatec’s CSL DD has been the easy recommendation for anyone looking to spend as little as possible on a sim racing setup that’ll last a long time. My particular favorite of the line was the Gran Turismo DD Pro. Sure, at $699 all in for the base, wheel, and a set of CSL pedals, it was a little pricier than Fanatec’s PC-only solutions, but the GT-branded wheel was intuitively designed, and the bundle gave you everything needed to go racing across platforms.
If the GT DD Pro wasn’t high-end enough for you, though, you’ll like the company’s follow-up. The new Gran Turismo DD Extreme kit pairs a new, larger wheel with an OLED display with Fanatec’s new ClubSport DD+ base. Capable of a maximum 15 Nm of torque, the ClubSport+ is exactly three times more powerful than that aforementioned $699 kit. At an eye-watering $1,299—that’s sans pedals—it’s also nearly twice as expensive. It’s the sort of equipment not everyone needs, but for those who have the scratch, it promises an experience few alternatives can match.
|Fanatec Gran Turismo DD Extreme Specs
|February 9, 2024
|2,520 degrees (electronically limitable)
|PC, PS5, PS4; becomes Xbox-compatible when fitted with an Xbox-licensed wheel
|The Fanatec GT DD Extreme is a powerful, responsive rig with all the bells and whistles that’s frankly overkill for most sim racers. We just wish its special features were more widely supported across games.
Fanatec’s hardware line is more than a bit confusing these days, and the GT DD Extreme kit occupies a strange place within it. Everything the company sells now is direct drive, so at the low end, there’s the 5-Nm CSL DD, which can be had with an entry-level wheel and pedals for $399. An optional “Boost Kit”—it’s just a beefier power supply—raises maximum output to 8 Nm for another $100. I consider that to be the sweet spot, at least for my use cases.
Thing is, those bundles support PC racing exclusively. Up until now, to get something that also worked on PlayStation, you needed to spring for the existing GT DD Pro kit, which includes pedals for $699. Then there’s the $799 ClubSport DD base that improves to 12 Nm, but that’s another PC-only affair. Think of the GT DD Extreme, then, as the premier option for anyone who primarily plays Gran Turismo 7, although it’s plug-and-play on PC, too, and can work with Xbox so long as you swap in a supported wheel rim. You can order the GT DD Extreme from Fanatec’s website starting today, February 9, for $1,299.
Racing With the GT DD Extreme
We’ve discussed price enough, so now comes the fun part. The GT DD Extreme and ClubSport DD+ are phenomenal in tandem with GT7. I’ve sampled Logitech’s own direct drive solution, the G Pro, and it’s very good and also supported by Sony’s sim. But that wheel didn’t work naturally out of the box in my experience, whereas this one needs very little fiddling for a comfortable, responsive drive. You’d hope for as much, being a Gran Turismo-licensed product.
It’s a confluence of factors that make this kit satisfying to turn laps with. There’s the sheer force of the thing, for starters. I was only running at 10 Nm of the available 15 Nm of torque, and that was enough for me; your mileage may vary, but Fanatec recommends it as a good place to start. Additionally, the ClubSport DD+ improves upon the non-Plus version with optimized thermal performance, to reduce diminished feedback after long racing sessions, and a heightened slew rate, which translates to snappier torque changes.
Indeed, steering felt precise, friction-free, and weighty, and feedback arrived with punch and accuracy. I did note some oscillation on straightaways, where the wheel had a habit of wiggling back and forth, but historically I’ve chalked this up to more of a Gran Turismo issue than the hardware OEM’s fault. Either way, it’s something that can likely be dialed out.
At launch, GT7 interprets the GT DD Extreme as a more powerful GT DD Pro, so the new set behaves largely the same, just more intensely. The Extreme currently uses the DD Pro’s input mapping menu, for example. Sometime in the coming weeks, Fanatec says GT7 developer Polyphony Digital will fully optimize the game for the new hardware and added feature set. This should improve things, but truthfully if you just follow the recommended settings for the DD Pro for now, you’ll still have a great time.
Part of that feature set is Fanatec’s new FullForce haptics. Similar to Logitech’s TrueForce tech, it takes the form of high-frequency vibrations at 16,000 Hz that intend to convey feedback beyond dynamics. Think curbs and changes in the road surface or driveline sensations. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can say about it, as it’s not live in GT7 or any other game yet. That’s an unfortunate theme of this review; the GT DD Extreme and ClubSport DD+ offer plenty of potentially valuable new tech that won’t be adopted by devs on day one, and if FullForce’s story is anything like TrueForce’s, that particular aspect may never be.
The Highs and Lows
Most of what I love about Fanatec’s CSL DD base is also true of this pricier version. The body of the base itself is composed of ridges, which act as a natural heatsink. On the bottom, these ridges seamlessly meld into rails, into which sliding T-nuts can be placed for hard mounting. Because these nuts can be positioned at any point along the rails, you have maximum freedom to hard-mount the ClubSport DD+ to your rig, as I did to a Playseat Trophy. The base has a compact footprint, but make no mistake: it’s seriously dense.
The 300-millimeter wheel, exclusive to the GT DD Extreme, is nice, too. It is shockingly light when you hold it for the first time, but that doesn’t appear to come at the expense of rigidity or build quality. I’m sure some sim racers will deride the lack of heft and copious plastics as toy-like, but I’ve always preferred my sim racing wheels to be suited well for fiddling with menus on and off the track, and the GT DD Extreme’s design with no less than five (count ’em) directional inputs certainly checks that box. The magnetic shifter paddles have a bit too much resistance for my taste, though—they’re more mechanical rather than snappy or clicky, hindering quick changes.
Besides FullForce, there’s another feature here that GT7 cannot make full use of yet, and that’s the 2.7-inch OLED display that supports Fanatec’s Intelligent Telemetry Mode. This aspect of the rim can be configured through the FanaLab application—if you can make heads or tails of its perplexing UI—and for many games, like iRacing and Assetto Corsa, it allows you to customize readouts. Everything from speed and gear to lap times, fuel level, and gaps to cars ahead and behind can be shown here, again, provided the title in question allows it.
The GT DD Extreme’s packaging very clearly shows ITM active, but it’s presently not supported in GT7, so all you get is a speedometer, which is quickly replaced by a current gear readout when you shift up or down. It’s a poor fallback for a display with plenty of potential, and at the very least, Fanatec shouldn’t really advertise the feature as functional when, let’s be honest, the folks who are primarily going to be running out and buying this are Gran Turismo devotees.
These days, you can shop for a direct drive wheel from a range of manufacturers, from more mainstream players like Fanatec, Logitech, and Thrustmaster, to upstarts like Moza and super-hardcore equipment from the likes of Simucube. But if you’re looking for something fit for console duty, your options slim down considerably. Thrustmaster’s T818, for example, only works on PC.
Bearing that in mind, Logitech’s G Pro is probably the GT DD Extreme’s closest competitor, at $999 with a peak 11 Nm of torque and PlayStation support if you so choose. They’re both great pieces of hardware. With the G Pro, you concede Fanatec’s extensive ecosystem of accessories clawing for yet more of your money, lose a little power, and get a product that’s overall less cleverly designed, even if still well-built. In turn, you save $300, and that’s not an insignificant chunk of change.
Value and Verdict
If you’re in the market for a GT DD Extreme, it stands to reason that PlayStation compatibility is key for you, otherwise, you’d happily run off with any of Fanatec’s other myriad solutions, most of which are cheaper than this. For those who truly crave wrist-snapping torque and play a lot of Gran Turismo 7, the DD Extreme certainly has merit. But for the vast majority of us (myself included), the GT DD Pro with the 8-Nm Boost Kit has all the bases that really matter covered.
Hell, two of this bundle's headline features—FullForce and the OLED display—can’t even be utilized to their full potential yet in the game. Perhaps Fanatec should’ve waited for the patch to drop before launching this product because right now, it’s not helping any arguments in favor of plunking down $1,299.
When you get down to it, Fanatec is its own biggest opponent here. The company already makes something that satisfies 90% of the market’s needs and expectations, for a far more attractive price. The existence of the GT DD Extreme doesn’t make a GT DD Pro any harder to walk away from, even if it’s the one GT World Series competitors will apparently use during the upcoming season. Though, if you’re that good and you want to buy this kit, I trust your judgment.
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