Today we’re very excited to be sharing with you our first impressions of the new Fanatec CSL DD. There has been a massive amount of hype surrounding this product, and thanks to your support we have been selected to be one of the first to put it to the test and share our opinions.

Before we get started here, we need to make a few things clear. What we’re looking at today is a pre-production sample, so right from the onset you need to understand that this is not the exact same product that you will be receiving if you choose to buy a CSL DD. Because of this, we won’t be following our normal “review” process, that will of course come later once we have our hands on a final production unit.

While this is of course not ideal and we would have loved to be able to put together a “proper review” before the CSL DD was available for pre-order, the information we’ve been given by Fanatec is quite clear with regards to what is expected to change between this unit and final production, and what we’re looking at today SHOULD at the very least give us a good indication as to what we can expect from the final production models when it comes to the general quality of the force feedback, characteristics of the motor, etc. But please do keep in mind that there are no guarantees the experience won’t change between now and final production.

For complete transparency, Fanatec have asked us to only use the supplied wheel for this video as the design of the base side Quick Release is not yet final, so we will not be focussing on the interface between the wheel and base at all in today’s video, this will of course be looked at later, we will also not be spending much time looking at the design of the unit itself beyond the basic form factor and mounting options, but instead focus around the overall driving experience.

The aim today is to use this pre-production sample answer as many questions as we comfortably can, and arm you with as clear a picture as possible prior to reviewing the final production version. We’ll be taking a look at the experience with the standard 5NM rated power supply, as well as the upgraded Boost Kit 180 which unlocks the CSL DD’s full potential of 8NM. We’ll take a look at the driving experience when mounted on the same high end cockpit we use for all our other wheel base reviews, as well as some cheaper mounting options, along with the optional Table Clamp Accessory to determine if the CSL DD is worth it for those not ready to step up to a more expensive cockpit, and of course compare the driving experience based on our personal experience to that of some other common wheel bases including Fanatec’s CSL Elite (which we now know will be discontinued, the ClubSport WheelBase 2.5 and of course the Podium DD1 and DD2, as well as some other relevant wheelbases from other brands. We’ll also spend some time explaining some of the terms you’ve no doubt heard being referenced such as Direct Drive, Fidelity and Dynamic Range. By the end of this article, our hope is you’ll have a clearer picture of whether or not the CSL DD is right for you!

We’ve also recently published a detailed Fanatec Wheel Buyer’s Guide to help you get a clearer picture of which Fanatec wheels might best suit your needs and budget, and the links contained in this article are affiliate links, which are a great way of helping support Boosted Media at no additional cost to you should you wish to do so.

Fanatec CSL DD

So let’s begin by talking about pricing.

The CSL DD with the standard power supply which allows for peak torque of 5 Nm will set you back 349.95 EUR (including taxes), 349.95 USD (excluding taxes), 599.95 AUD, 47,900 JPY.

For those wanting to unlock the full 8NM of peak torque, the CSL DD can also be purchased along with the Boost Kit 180 for 479.95 EUR (including taxes), 479.95 USD (excluding taxes), 829.90 AUD, 65,500 JPY. The base and power supplies are packaged separately so if you choose to purchase the Base along with the Boost Kit 180, you will not receive the standard power supply.

For those wanting to upgrade to the Boost Kit 180 at a later date, it can be purchased as an accessory for 149.95 EUR (including taxes), 149.95 USD (excluding taxes), 259.90 AUD, 20,000 JPY. You will of course need to add any shipping costs on top of this, so it makes sense to choose which power supply you think you will want at the same time as purchasing the base, we’ll do our best to help you with that in this video of course.

Now while quality power supplies aren’t cheap by any means, it does appear that there is quite a large mark-up on the Boost Kit 180. We can only assume this is done to offset the lower price of the CSL DD when combined with the standard power supply. In fairness, it does still come in cheaper than a ClubSport Wheelbase 2.5, so we’ll see whether we feel it’s a worthwhile upgrade.

The CSL DD table clamp is also sold as an optional accessory for 29.95 EUR (incl. VAT), 29.95 USD (excl. VAT), 49.95 AUD, 4,490 JPY.


If you’d like to pick up any of the gear covered in this article, the following links are a great way to help support Boosted Media. These links will take you through to Fanatec’s official website where we will also earn a small commission on the sale at no additional cost to you. Your support keeps the content and reviews coming and we greatly appreciate it!




$479.95 incl. Boost Kit 180





€479.95 incl. Boost Kit 180





$829.90 incl. Boost Kit 180



47,900 JPY


65,500 JPY incl. Boost Kit 180



The CSL DD is Compatible with PC and Xbox when used in conjunction with a compatible Xbox wheel. No PlayStation compatibility is offered with this particular model, although Fanatec have stated a PlayStation Compatible model of some description shall follow later.

The base itself measures 160mm wide by 160mm tall, length is yet to be determined due to our pre-production unit being shipped with non-standard quick release shaft.

The unit is passively cooled, no fans meaning reduced noise and reduced points of failure, something that is common across many other brands of Direct Drive wheelbases but not the Fanatec DD1 and DD2 which are both actively cooled by a fan.

Unlike the Podium DD1 and DD2 which feature an outrunner style motor, the CSL DD features a German designed servo motor. The advantages (on paper at least) of this when compared with hybrid stepper motors found in some other cheaper direct drive wheel bases being better efficiency and ability to maintain torque at higher rotational speed. Patented “FluxBarrier” technology is utilised which should reduce cogging or torque ripple effects. More on that later.

The motor shaft features a carbon-fibre enhanced composite material which reduces rotational mass.

The system itself features a similar wireless QR system to the Podium DD which provides power via inductive coupling and data via an optical transceiver so no mechanical rotation limit. To see how this works, check out our Fanatec DD2 teardown video.

The final production units will feature an interchangeable quick release which we will look at in more detail once we have a final production unit.

So lets get it mounted up on the Simlab P1X to begin with to see how the motor feels, starting with the standard power supply, then the Boost Kit 180, then look at some other mounting solutions including the optional table clamp accessory.


We begin our driving tests in iRacing driving a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car around Imola, a rear heavy and lively car which is very difficult to manage under brakes with the rear end having a tendancy to swing around like a pendulum. When combined with a track like Imola which has technical downhill braking sections, it’s a great test for how easily we are able to feel and react to the movement of the car beneith us.

Before we set out on track we took a moment to analyse how the wheel base feels under the weight of the car sitting in the pits and noticed the distinct lack of cogging and torque ripple effect when rotating the wheel. This effect is common on more entry level direct drive wheel bases so we expected to feel it more profoundly here, but it seems Fanatec’s “FluxBarrier” technology is doing a good job of reducing the sensation of variations in the magnetic field as the motor shaft rotates.

We noted the overall smoothness of the wheelbase on track and the impressive fidelity in the finer details like surface textures, ripple strips and weight transition. This made feeling what the car was doing quite intuitive and natural, as we would expect from a direct drive wheel base.

No other strange effects such as bumps or clunks were noted, and the base felt pleasantly organic and smooth with very little sudden, robotic movement noticeable.

Next we moved on to testing across a range of different simulators including Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione, Automobilista 2, Dirt Rally 2.0 and F1 2020.


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Throughout our extended testing, we noted the consistency in feeling between all the sim titles we tested. Obviously different sims translate effects differently so they’re never going to feel identical, however one of the things we’ve always liked about Fanatec wheel bases is the relative ease of switching between different sim titles without feeling like you have to learn to drive all over again.

We didn’t notice anything notable about any particular sim when compared with another, road and gravel surface textures tend to be lacking a little in iRacing compared with some other sims, but felt consistent with our experience with other higher end DD bases.

We didn’t have any problems getting any of the sims we tested up and running and ran in to no issues with compatibility despite running early internal beta drivers.


At 5NM Peak (standard 90W power supply) the force feedback does lack dynamic range and found we had to crank it up to the point of clipping to bring the other details out even if we fiddled with linearity settings. For those after a more immersive experience, we would recommend the Boost Kit 180 provided you have a sturdy cockpit for this reason. More on that later.

For those who are happy using lower strength bases such as a CSL Elite, Thrustmaster TS-PC, etc, you will likely be happy with the standard power supply as the added fidelity still add a lot to the driving experience.

We think the CSL DD combined with the standard 90W power supply will be particularly appealing for esports scenarios where competitors tend to run lower strength settings because it allows you to feel the fine details but without paying extra for  dynamic range which is considered to be unnecessary for many professional esports drivers. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this became the base of choice for esports competitions, commercial sim racing centres, etc.

Similarly, we think it will be a very appealing base for those who primarily enjoy rally and drifting where fidelity and response time is generally preferenced.


Fanatec’s FluxBarrier technology seems to be doing a great job here and cogging/torque ripple is minimal. While there is some noticeable grain in the rotation when compared with something like a VRS Direct Force Pro, Simagic Alpha or Simucube 2, its really not enough to be noticeable when driving unless you’re paying specific attention to it, and far less than we experienced with the Simagic M10 by comparison. I was concerned that being so much cheaper than competitor products it may be quite grainy, but my expectations were surpassed.

The CSL DD is Quiet! In fact almost silent. Far quieter than CSL Elite and CSW2.5.

The device barely got warm driving for hours at max torque so cooling not a concern as far as we can tell from this sample.


The Boost Kit 180 works fine in conjunction with the optional Table Clamp Accessory and a sturdy table, but we wouldn’t recommend it if you have a cockpit or stand that flexes significantly as the additional strength is for the most part absorbed by the flex which leads to dampened fidelity and less predictable and repeatable behavior.

Interestingly, both the standard 90W Power SUpply and the Boost Kit 180 Power Supply share the same physical connector and there is no included dongle to tell the CSL DD you have the upgraded power supply as we thought may be the case. It would appear externally at least that the only physical difference between the standard 90W Power Supply Unit and the Boost Kit 180 Power Supply Unit is the presence of a second power rail, although we don’t know if there is some kind of digital handshake going on internally.

Boost Kit 180 Power Supply

Standard 90W Power Supply

The standard Power Supply is configured with Pins 1,2 and 3 being V- and Pin 4 being V+, where-as the Boost Kit 180 Power Supply is configured with Pin 2,3 being V- and Pin 1,4 being V+


The t-nuts included with the pre-production unit don’t have any spring tensioners, so they tend to slide around which makes mounting quite challenging in some circumstances. Not a problem once torqued down, and may of course change for final production units.

The USB-C connection on the rear of the base feels quite flimsy due to the provided plug not being a snug fit in the recessed area around the physical connector. This means it could easily be broken if the cable were trodden on or pulled. I would suggest some kind of strain relief (cable tie the cable to your wheel deck, etc) be used so the cable breaks before the base. Again, this may not be an issue on final production units.


Is the Fanatec CSL DD a worthwhile upgrade from something like a Logitech G27/G920 or Thrustmaster T300RS?

Absolutely. The difference is night and day when it comes to the details you feel across every sim we tested. It’s also much quieter. If you’ve been holding out for a more affordable upgrade path to a direct drive wheel, this is a no-brainer and you won’t be disappointed.

Is the Fanatec CSL DD a worthwhile upgrade from something like a Thrustmaster TS-PC or CSL Elite?

Despite the strength being similar, we’d still say yes.

The details feel significantly smoother and less robotic which does make the experience more enjoyable and immersive. It’s also once again a lot quieter which is an important factor for a lot of people.

Is the Fanatec CSL DD a worthwile upgrade from a Fanatec ClubSport Wheelbase 2.5?

Without the Boost Kit 180, no. With the Boost Kit 180, we’d say if you’re confident you can get a good price second hand for your CSW2.5 then its worth considering.

Again, the details are more pronounced, but in terms of dynamic range it’s essentially the same. If I were wanting more from my CSW2.5, I’d probably save for a DD1/SC2 Sport or VRS Direct Force Pro, or wait to see if Fanatec release a CSW DD at around the 10-15NM range, as this will be a more substantial upgrade.

I don’t think the CSL DD is going to blow you away coming from a CSW2.5 as it’s already a very good base, but there’s no denying the fidelity is more pronounced on the CSL DD both with and without the Boost Kit 180.

If I already have a Fanatec Podium DD1 or DD2 and only run it at around 8NM, should I sell and buy a Fanatec CSL DD?

Due to lack of other options at the time the Fanatec Podium DD1 and DD2 were released, many people opted to buy these prodcuts purely for the fidelity they offer, despite no intention of running them to anywhere near their full potential in terms of dynamic range.

I couldn’t feel a huge difference between the CSL DD and the DD1/2 at the same torque settings, that goes for with and without the Boost Kit 180, but I do prefer a bit more inertia and friction in my wheels than some others might.

The CSL DD has noticeably less rotating mass which some people may prefer, particularly drifters, rally drivers and those who value competitiveness over immersion. So I’d say if you find you only ever run your DD1/2 at similar torque values and don’t find you miss having that extra dynamic range, by all means sell your DD1/2 and buy this.

I think if the CSL DD were my only wheel-base, I’d probably still at some point want to upgrade purely for more dynamic range. I think if Fanatec come out with a CSW DD at around 10-15NM, that’s where we would really begin to start questioning the purpose of anything stronger for the majority of sim racers.


I’ve said a few time in more recent DD reviews that the next advances in the technology will be in the form of accessibility (cheaper prices), efficiency, miniaturisation and on the software/firmware side, and I think the CSL DD is a big wake up call to the industry to show what’s possible at a more affordable price point. It wasn’t long ago that to get a driving experience like this you would need a few thousand dollars to spare, not to mention a control box the size of a PC to drive it.

I’ve been quite vocal about my stance on “DD Hype” in the past and frequently remind people that just because a wheel is Direct Drive, doesn’t automatically mean it’s better, but I’m happy to say that in the case of the pre-production sample CSL DD we’ve tested, my expectations have been exceeded.

What an exciting time to be a sim racer!