You may already know that we're partial to German outfit Fanatec's racing gear. Over the years they've proven their worth and this writer has developed a personal and intimate relationship with three wheels from the manufacturer over the last 15 years. That's not to say there haven't been issues with the build quality and material choices over the years, but seen as a whole Endor has offered the best money can buy for the serious sim enthusiast. That's not to say there isn't even crazier gear with direct drive tech for those willing to spend even more on their setup.
The CSL Elite wheel has been available for Xbox One for some time and has now finally been released for PlayStation 4. From a design perspective it is virtually identical to the Xbox One edition, but on the inside, there are a couple of important improvements and upgrades that pretty much make it comparable to the far more expensive Clubsport V2 as opposed to its Xbox One sibling. The wheelbase is simply brilliant and we didn't register much of a difference between this and the more expensive model as we sat down and played. No-one with normal upper arm strength needs a more robust base than the one that comes with CSL Elite PS4.
At first glance it is, however, a bit disappointing that the wheelbase looks as plastic as it does, given its price tag. While Clubsport Wheelbase V2 is dressed in aluminium, this has a plastic finish. That said you only have to lift it out of the box to realise that it's not the sort of plastic feel that, let's say Logitech G29 comes with, but rather the same heavy and sturdy constructions Fanatec are known to deliver.
When it comes to compatibility this wheel is top of the class, just as the case is in terms of design. CSL Elite PS4 works just as well on PC as it does on Sony's console and you can set it up to run perfectly with a wide range of games including Dirt Rally, Assetto Corsa, Project CARS 2, iRacing, Rfactor 2, Automobilista, Forza Motorsport 6 & 7, and GT Sport. The wheel, wheelbase and the Clubsport V2 pedals (that we tested this wheel with) can be tuned to perfection with the aforementioned games. That said, we do feel that Thrustmaster T-GT wheel has a clear edge in Gran Turismo Sport, but that is also only true for that particular game and it has more to do with the fact that Fanatec hasn't been able to include full support for it just yet (which also is to do with Sony's deal with Thrustmaster).
There is a number of racing simulations that Fanatec has worked with to offer the best possible support with this wheel. There are presets that nearly perfectly match a few games including Assetto Corsa and Dirt Rally. These happen to be two of our absolute favourite sim titles on PlayStation 4, which made for an utterly enjoyable test period. Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 paired with the PS4 version of Kunos Simulazioni's excellent racing title is a joy for all the senses and an indication that nothing within this price bracket can compete with Fanatec. Not at this point in time anyway.
Inside the wheelbase we find a brushless servo engine with a belt-drive that offers great precision and power. That somewhat jerky feeling that Logitech's wheels suffer from in particular is nowhere to be seen here and apart from far more expensive direct drive wheels this is clearly a market leading wheel.
It is an expensive wheel, though, particularly if you want the Clubsport pedals in aluminium (which we thoroughly recommend), and a separate shifter and handbrake that Fanatec also produce. You quickly arrive at more than a thousand quid, which is an insane amount for many gamers seeing as you get a PS4 Pro and a decent low-end TV for the same sum. But if you're serious about your sim-racing and you want equipment that will help you shave tens of seconds off your laptimes and that will last, then it is well worth the investment.