Fanatec CSL Elite WRC


  • Authentic rally car inspired design
  • 300mm wheel size close to real rally wheels
  • Alcantara grip feels great during intense races
  • Responsive controls with quality materials
  • Simplified quick release system is convenient
  • Xbox/PlayStation/PC cross-compatibility


  • Generic branding may not appeal to all
  • Requires firmware update to function
  • Short brake pedal travel needs adjusting
  • Not compatible with all arcade racers
  • No included shifter or pedals

Fanatec CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC Review

As an avid sim racing enthusiast, I was eager to test out the Fanatec CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC after hearing so much praise for it online. Having spent extensive time racing with this wheel now, I’m ready to share my detailed thoughts in this in-depth review.

The CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC is an officially licensed rally-inspired wheel compatible with Fanatec’s CSL and Clubsport wheel bases. Offering premium materials and quality construction for a reasonable $199 price, this wheel aims to provide an authentic racing experience accessible to serious sim racers. Does it live up to the hype? Read on to find out!


The WRC wheel was designed in conjunction with WRC 9, but also works seamlessly with other popular racing titles. As someone who enjoys participating in a wide range of racing disciplines, I was intrigued by the wheel’s versatility.

With a more conventional round shape compared to Fanatec’s Formula style wheels, the WRC wheel promises improved comfort for extended racing sessions across various games. The premium materials and Xbox/PlayStation/PC cross-compatibility were also big selling points.

After taking this wheel for a thorough test drive, I’m happy to report it absolutely delivers a premium racing experience at a mid-range price point. While no product is perfect, the WRC wheel gets so many things right that it’s easy to overlook the few minor shortcomings.

Now let’s take a more detailed look at the various features and performance of the CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC.

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Upon unboxing the WRC wheel, it immediately gives off a premium vibe. The materials used in construction consist of solid aluminum and suede-like Alcantara fabric.

Visually, the black, white, and orange color scheme looks contemporary and fits the rally theme nicely. The integrated LED lighting and telemetry display add to the high-tech racing aesthetic.

The quick release mechanism allows fast and simple mounting without any tools required. Within minutes I had the wheel snapped into place and ready for action on my rig.

Overall the unboxing experience met my expectations for a quality wheel at this price point. The look, feel and quick setup all made great first impressions.

Premium materials and build quality

  • Brushed aluminum spokes are lightweight yet durable
  • Alcantara grip feels soft but provides ample control
  • Stitching and paddles built for high wear and tear
  • No residue or fuzzing during extensive use

Rally-inspired design

  • Black, white and orange colors give it a contemporary style
  • Tire tread graphic along bottom suits the rally concept
  • Large orange paddle shifters stand out boldly

Quick and easy setup

  • No tools needed to mount using quick release
  • Locks tightly into place on wheel base
  • Clear alignment guides ensure proper positioning

Detailed Features

Now let’s take a close look at the various features that make up this well-designed steering wheel.

300mm diameter wheel size

The 300mm diameter places this wheel in a sweet spot between toy-like budget wheels and full-size replicas. It’s a mere inch smaller than real rally car wheels, providing increased authenticity over the base level wheels included in bundles.

Alcantara grip and orange stitching

Many high-end wheels use Alcantara for its optimal grip properties. The WRC wheel utilizes this grippy material across the entire rim with bold orange stitching that complements the color accents. Even during heavy steering inputs, my hands never lost traction on the textured surface.

Metal paddle shifters with tactile clicks

The large metal paddles produce audible clicks when pressed, improving the tactile feedback. I never missed a shift thanks to their sizable surface area and distinct actuation point. They feel built to last through hours of aggressive racing.

LED rev indicator and telemetry display

Fanatec integrated useful technology into the WRC wheel, including LEDs to indicate revs and a small display to show data like speed and gear selection. This immersive information is seamlessly delivered during gameplay on compatible titles.

Xbox/PlayStation/PC compatibility

A major advantage of the WRC wheel is that it works across all major platforms. The Xbox mode enabling electronics built into the wheel allow it to work instantly with Xbox and PlayStation wheel bases. No mucking about with settings to switch between platforms.

Tuning menu access on wheel

Without needing to pause or leave the game, you can access options to tweak force feedback and other parameters by using the tuning menu on the wheel itself. This allows dialing in the perfect sensitivity during active gameplay.

Removable paddle shifters

The default paddle shifters can be detached completely, making room to install an aftermarket shifter system directly onto the wheel base. This level of customization possibilities adds to the wheel’s versatility.

Simplified quick release system

The newly designed quick release clamping mechanism allows installing and removing the wheel without tools in seconds. While not quite as robust as higher end Fanatec releases, it strikes a great balance of convenience versus stability.

Performance and Feel

Beyond the features, the most important factor is how a wheel actually performs and feels during racing. In testing across various titles, the WRC wheel was consistently excellent in these crucial areas.

Smooth force feedback

Thanks to Fanatec’s expertise crafting high-end force feedback components, the WRC wheel smooths out bumps and vibrations, allowing you to feel the road and wheel traction without rattling your bones. Force feedback brings immense realism to simulation racing when done right.

Responsive controls

The built-in Xbox compatible electronics translate your physical inputs into digital signals rapidly, eliminating perceivable lag. Whether snapping the paddle shifter, jerking the wheel, or mashing the pedal, the on-screen vehicle reacts instantly as it should.

Customizable sensitivity

As mentioned previously, you can fine tune the sensitivity and force feedback on the fly using the wheel’s tuning menu. For example, lowering the overall gain provides a lighter steering feel for drifting. Tweaking these settings to match your preferences is quick and easy.

Excellent grip and wheel spin resistance

The Alcantara covering allows your hands to grip the wheel solidly during intense maneuvers. Even when applying heavy steering lock and aggressive acceleration, the wheel remains stable in your hands thanks to the perfectly sized diameter and subtle texture.

Game Compatibility

I tested the CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC with a wide selection of racing games to assess compatibility across genres. Here’s a quick overview of how it performed with some popular titles:

Works great with WRC 9 and DiRT Rally 2.0

As expected, the wheel felt immediately at home with officially supported games like WRC 9 and DiRT Rally 2.0. Controlling rally cars is this wheel’s forte thanks to the authentic size and rally-centric design.

Also compatible with Forza, Assetto Corsa, etc.

Mainstream racing sims including Forza Motorsport 7 and Assetto Corsa also recognized the wheel automatically. The driving experience felt natural and balanced across GT style cars as well as exotic hypercars.

May have issues detecting wheel in some arcade racers

Arcade handling games like Project CARS 3 gave me some difficulty getting the wheel recognized properly. While disappointing, this is not entirely surprising for more casual titles. The wheel is tailored squarely at the simulation crowd.

Value and Conclusion

Taking everything into account, the CSL Elite Steering Wheel WRC provides stellar value at just under $200. Considering the premium materials, realistic size, cross-platform support, and overall quality, it’s hard to imagine getting more bang for your buck.

Reasonably priced for features

Given the materials, technology, and versatility packed into this officially licensed product, the asking price feels more than fair. It’s impressive what Fanatec delivers for around $200 these days.

Highly recommended for serious sim racers

If you spend hours battling for podiums in simulation titles, this wheel belongs in your racing rig. It provides immense realism once you customize the sensitivity perfectly aligned with your driving style.

Ideal starter wheel with wheel base bundle

For those building a rig from scratch, bundling this wheel with the matching CSL Elite wheel base is the perfect way to enter the world of sim racing on Xbox, PlayStation or PC.

Great all-around wheel for any game

Between the convenient size and cross-platform compatibility, the WRC wheel truly does a superb job doubling as an all-purpose wheel for all your virtual driving needs.

Fanatec CSL Elite WRC