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Forza Motorsport CSR Elite Wheel Spotlight

John Schommer
Friday, March 2, 2012

The ultimate goal of any steering controller is to increase the player’s immersion in the driving simulation. Developed by Fanatec, the Forza Motorsport CSR Elite Wheel provides the highest level of performance among current steering devices. In this story, we’ll give you a rundown of the CSR Elite’s features and a look at what it’s like to take this incredible accessory out for a spin. 

The CSR Elite Wheel is constructed to exacting standards with high-quality materials and precise engineering, and it’s designed to deliver both comfort and consistency for those long Forza 4 sessions. The body of the wheel is made of CNC-carved aluminum which not only provides durability but adds to the weight and composure of the unit. The top of the wheel base is made of clear polycarbonate, which lets the player see the two 120W motors, German-made belts and wiring which comprise the wheel’s internal mechanics.  

The GT-inspired wheel is built of tough interconnected polycarbonate tubes and wrapped in Alcantara on the rim sides and thumb rest areas for maximum comfort. The center console is made of carbon fiber over aluminum, delivering a true race car look and feel.  




Raised and rounded X,Y,A,B  function buttons and an accurate and sensitive directional pad are well-placed and easily reached while driving. The CSR Elite’s paddle shifters are made from satin finished iron and are movable on the steering column; they also rotate with the wheel for unfettered shifting capability. When shifting, there is a solid feel that translates the gear change as actual and real, not just a click. Visually, the paddles provide contrast to the black wheel and the satin finish exudes engineered quality. The paddles also double as the LB and RB buttons. All cable inputs are located on the back of the wheel base allowing simplified cable tidying while further enhancing the look and feel of the unit. The CSR Elite’s steering component also allows for easy detachment of the wheel for those wishing to utilize other compatible wheels.

The software driving the experience is of the same level of quality as the hardware and offers multiple settings to accommodate different driving modes such as drifting. You adjust settings by navigating an LED screen in the center of the wheel. Changing settings is intuitive and simple. Tuning functions include adjustment of the turning angle (90 to 900 degrees of steering rotation), level of force feedback, intensity of vibration, and degree of sensitivity. Additional settings include dead zone, dampening, ABS, spring, and linearity and allow for tweaking of the interaction of the game software with the wheel and, in the case of ABS, the brake pedal. Players can save up to five presets. Presets and tuning functions can be changed on the fly during game play.

OK, so it’s built well and works excellently. How does that translate to enhancing the game experience? In a word, realism. All steering wheels provide that next step closer experience by putting a wheel in your hand versus a traditional game controller. The CSR Elite takes it one step further still: a wheel that not only looks like a real clip-in GT racing wheel, it also feels like one when your hands are wrapped around it. As a controller-user primarily, I will admit driving with a wheel takes some getting used to, but once you get some seat time with it and once the settings are optimized for your tastes the experience is absolutely heightened. Ripping down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans in the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport at 260mph is actually scary and, if you lose control, the immediacy of need to correct is accentuated. You like to drift? The precise amount of wheel play needed to manage each corner and maintain your drift is in your face; don’t be surprised if your arms get tired during your early days with the CSR Elite.

One of the most realistic experiences I had with the CSR Elite was while driving a front wheel drive car. When the front end lost grip, I could totally feel it. Likewise, as I pushed the throttle to try and pull through, I felt like I was in my 1980 Ford Fiesta from the days of yore. The same sensation comes through in a powerful rear wheel drive car fighting for traction off the line at the drag strip. When using the CSR Elite Wheel you’re more “in” the game than “playing” the game.



The Forza Motorsport CSR Elite Wheel’s construction is unparalleled, which is good news. The better news is that the wheel’s function follows its form. The Elite's powerful force feedback and smooth action make it a pure delight on the track. Superior strength supplied by the belt-driven motors, coupled with deft low-speed steering sensations unite for the highest level of simulation experience available. When linked to the CSR Elite pedals and a quality cockpit (both sold separately), the driving experience can only be improved by getting out on the track in the real thing.



• Multiplatform compatibility: Xbox 360 / PC / PS3
• Wireless connection to Xbox360 and USB cables for connecting to PC or PS3
• Compatible with all Fanatec pedals as well as Logitech® G25 / G27 pedals
• Force feedback powered by dual 120W motors plus two additional vibration motors in the wheel rim
• CNC Carved Aluminum wheel base
• Carbon fiber and Alcantara wheel rim
• DirectSensor™ technology: steering axis mounted sensor avoids interference and performance issues that are inherent in other belt and gear drives that have motor mounted sensor systems.
• Ample internal component cooling via large silent fans 
• Large durable shifter paddles made of satin finish iron
• Belt drive system utilizes all metal components, high quality ball bearings and German made belts
• Tuning functions with LED display: including the turning angle (90° to 900° of steering rotation), force feedback, vibration, sensitivity
• Save up to five presets
• Five 'drift mode' adjustments to allow a quicker turning ratio

Price $539.95