- Fantastic replica of a real GT2 wheel
- High quality materials used
- Weight makes this wheel feel realistic
- Very bright rev lights and LED display
- Weight can make the wheel feel sluggish
- Paddle shifters not same quality as the wheel
The Design of the BMW GT2 Wheel
Just like all of Fanatec’s steering wheels. The BMW M3 GT2 wheel comes nicely presented in its own draw string bag, surrounded by a lot of protective foam. We do love the way Fanatec takes care with packaging their products.
Once you’ve thrown away the quick start guide, because who needs them anyway! And you’ve finally made your way inside the bag, you’ll be presented with the extremely accurate replica of a real BMW M3 GT2 racing wheel.
Pictures don’t do this BMW GT2 racing wheel any justice. When you first see it in the flesh, it looks stunning. The design form is simple, yet elegant. And being a Fanatec wheel, everything is where you expect it to be.
The first thing you’ll notice when you take the wheel out of its protective bag, is just how good it feels in the hand. The padding in the wheel rim itself feels really nice. And the Alcantara finishing which runs the whole way around the rim is a lovely touch.
Alcantara isn’t always our favourite choice of steering wheel material, as it does have a tendency to wear badly over time. The wear is much less prominent if you race in gloves, which we do.
To give you an idea of how long the Alcantara will last. We must have raced with our BMW GT2 wheel for well over 300 hours, in a combination of gloves and bareback. And we only have slight wear marks on the rear of the rim where our fingers wrap around and our grip is the tightest.
What Controls are on the wheel?
The front of this Fanatec steering wheel has the usual set of buttons which control elements of your car whilst driving. As well as controlling the menu between sessions. These all feel good to the touch with a satisfying clunk to them when you engage each button.
As with most Fanatec wheels, you also have an analogue to the left, and a d-pad style stick to the right. These are used to adjust the force feedback settings on the wheel itself.
Towards the top of the face plate is a set of LED rev lights. These are more than bright enough for you to have no excuse of missing an upshift!
And just above the rev lights sit three LED screens. These give you telemetry read outs such as your current speed. And they can also be used for tuning your wheel’s force feedback.
When you flip the wheel over, you’ll see the bright red quick release system that you find on most Fanatec wheel rims. This comes with an attached storage pin to secure you’re quick release.
You’ll also see the adjustable paddle shifters which are nicely positioned. These are made out of a single sheet of metal, and feel nice to the touch. They do feel snappy when you activate them.
Although they certainly aren’t up to the same quality as magnetic shifters. They feel just a little too sloppy for our personal preference. But they certainly do the job well enough.
So just by looking at this wheel, first impressions are fantastic. The wheel is very well constructed with the entire front of the wheel constructed from metal. Yes, the back is made from an ABS plastic, but who looks at the rear of a wheel anyway?
Which is better – The BMW GT2 vs the Fanatec P1?
The BMW GT2 wheel is often one of the first upgrades that many Fanatec owners make. And quite often they find themselves upgrading from a wheel rim such as the P1 wheel rim for Xbox.
The Fanatec P1 wheel rim is one of the more basic racing wheels that Fanatec produce. And more often than not, it is only purchased as part of a wheel base bundle.
The P1 itself floats between the lines of a real racing wheel and a console controller. That is exactly what it is. It’s an Xbox controller or peripheral that is designed as a wheel.
Elements such as the paddle shifters aren’t up to the quality of Fanatec’s other wheels. There aren’t any true rev lights, and the digital display at the top of the P1’s wheel rim isn’t bright at all. As a whole, the Fanatec P1 is just OK. It does a similar sort of job as say the Logitech G29. A basic wheel to portray some racing whel feel.
Upgrading from the P1 to the BMW GT2, is a vast improvement for sure. The face plate and front of the wheel has more definition and depth to it. The wheel grip material being Alcantara is much nicer to hold than the leather of the P1. (Yes we had the leather P1, not the Alcantara version.)
As an upgrade from the Fanatec P1, the BMW GT2 is much better in every aspect. The cost of the BMW GT2 wheel isn’t huge, and we would recommend it as a step up the Fanatec ecosystem.
Our initial impression as soon as we jump in to playing with the BMW GT2 steering wheel, is that the force feedback is not as strong as with other Fanatec wheels. This all comes down to weight. Being a replica of a real world steering wheel, this wheel weighs more than a typical gaming wheel.
This is due to the metal construction of the wheel, and the size of the wheel. Being a round wheel, it takes up a little more space, and the rim itself is padded well meaning the rim is a little thick. The size feels good in your hand, as you have a lot to hang on to.
However it does impact the force feedback that comes through the wheel. By being a much heavier wheel, the motor inside the wheel base, in this case a ClubSport V2.5, has to work harder to move the wheel.
In comparison to the Fanatec P1, the P1 weighs in at around 970g. While the BMW GT2 rim weighs 2120g. That is over double the weight!
Of course you can still feel the force feedback that is generated, and it still feels great. However swapping between the P1 and BMW GT2, it is immediately apparent that the GT2 wheel weighs more.
The output of the force feedback feels a little more dampened, and the fine force feedback detail isn’t quite as crisp.
Some sim racers say that they prefer the weighty force feedback compared to the light and agile steering wheels. And I can understand this. The extra weight does make the car feel more realistic to drive, despite losing a little force feedback detail along the way.
How does the wheel feel to drive with?
The wheel itself feels great. The hand grips are thick and weighty, making it really feel as though you are holding on to a real racing car wheel. Because of this the immersion level is increased, compared to wheels such as the P1.
One thing the added weight does do, is make your inputs more deliberate. We found over a play session we had less instances of oversteer, and spins. We think this is due to the lightness of wheels such as the P1.
When you are driving with a light racing wheel which moves about a lot, you have a tendency to move with the wheel. Your inputs are often a little more erratic, and your inputs less controlled.
Swapping to the heavier BMW steering wheel changes this. The weight stops you from sawing at the wheel during oversteer moments, giving you a slightly increased sense of car weight.
The wheel itself has haptic vibrations built in allowing it to shake in your hand when you hit kerbs. This is an added extra compared to rims such as the P1 which don’t have any vibration motors. The vibration motors are a subtle addition, but once you race with them. It is very ahrd to go back to a wheel without them.
As with many of Fanatec’s products, the compatibility is very hit and miss. This BMW GT2 wheel is designed to only work on PC and PS4. You can’t use it on Xbox One or Series X consoles.
This is disappointing, and would mean Xbox owners will need to look elsewhere to upgrade from their P1 rim.
Does this Fanatec BMW GT2 wheel make you quicker?
We wouldn’t necessarily find that the BMW M3 GT2 wheel makes you a faster driver. We certainly didn’t notice any lap time gains when swapping between this and other wheels.
As mentioned above, the added weight does make your inputs a little more deliberate. We found our tyre temperatures were a little lower on average when driving with this Fanatec GT2 wheel rim. This is due to the slightly less aggressive driving style compared to the P1.
Should you buy the Fanatec BMW GT2 wheel?
The Fanatec BMW GT2 wheel is definitely an upgrade in quality over base Fanatec wheels. If you have a P1 and fancy something a little more realistic. Then this steering wheel is a good option.
The weight of the wheel will divide opinion. Some will appreciate the realism of the heavier wheel, while some will complain about the less detailed force feedback.
The added vibration motors and the upgraded LED display and rev lights when compared to the Fanatec P1 are brilliant. Again, once you have raced with this wheel you wont want to go back to the inferior P1.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you add a magnetic shifter to the Fanatec BMW GT2 wheel?
The only real way to add a magnetic shifter is to DIY your own. There are a few snap on magnetic adapters available for sale from SimRacingMachines.
Is the BMW GT2 wheel better than the Fanatec P1?
Quite simply yes. The Fanatec BMW GT2 wheel is better than the P1 in almost every way. It has more functionality built in and is constructed much better.
Is it worth buying a Fanatec BMW GT2 steering wheel rim?
We think it is worth buying the GT2 wheel rim if you currently own a lesser model such as the P1. It is also great if you are looking for a solid GT style rim for your Fanatec wheel