After using a Fanatec CSL Elite wheel base for quite some time, it was time to test and review its big brother the ClubSport CSW v2.5 wheelbase. Is it worth the extra cost? We will find out in this test and review.
Packaging and contents
As usual, the packaging at Fanatec is very well taken care of. Products are shipped a brown box containing the original box of the product. When unpacking, you immediately notice that the wheel base is a lot less deep than the CSL Elite, but it is a lot heavier. Where the CSL Elite mainly consists of plastic, the CSW v2.5 is almost entirely made of aluminium. Our eye also fell on the plexiglass cover that gives you a nice insight into the technology inside the wheel base. The CSW v2.5 comes with fastening materials to be able to screw it firmly onto a simrig. If you want to mount it on a desk or table, you will have to order the optional ClubSport table clamp. Simrig mounting screws are included for the 3-hole pattern, pre-mounted on the 20 degree angle adapter.
For mounting on our Sim-Lab GT1 Evo we have removed the 20 degree angle adapter so that the wheel base can be mounted nice and flat on the steering column. Screw the three screws into the bottom and the wheel base is as solid as a house. The CSW v2.5 has a slightly different angle than the CSL Elite. After some adjustments to our rig and connecting the cables, everything was ready for use.
While using the CSW v2.5 we soon found out that a comparison with the CSL Elite is actually not entirely fair. The CSW v2.5 features a new type of brushless motor and new electronics. The v2.5 also has a double belt drive and 8Nm of power instead of 6Nm on the CSL Elite. That makes the CSL Elite absolutely not a bad wheel base, it makes the CSW v2.5 rather a higher level wheel base for the sim racer who wants a little more power and precision.
We tested the CSW c2.5 with rFactor 2, RaceRoom, F1 2019 and F1 2020. The wheel base made an excellent impression in all games. There was absolutely nothing to complain about regarding the transfer of the force feedback effects, on the contrary, we were really impressed with the performance. The point that really stands out for us is the power and precision of the force feedback. Where the CSL Elite sometimes feels a bit soft and less direct, the CSW v2.5 lets you feel much more details of the track. To give some examples, the v2.5 really pushes you off the kerbs and makes you feel every bump or imperfection on the track instantly. Things that are certainly present with the CSL Elite, but to a lesser extent.
With this power you also notice that the wheel base is heavier and needs to be properly cooled, which is why the wheel base is equipped with two large fans on the left and the rear and there is a large heat sink on the motor. After a long session, the CSW makes itself heard in terms of cooling, but that is not disturbing and moreover it cools down very quickly.
Our CSL Elite wheel base, which has been used so far, is really a perfectly working wheel base. Especially for the price of around 350 euros. However, if you are a bit more die-hard than a regular racer, the ClubSport CSW v2.5 wheel base is definitely recommended. Due to the precision (DirectSensor technology), the super-accurate force feedback and the high-quality materials used, the price of € 549.95 is in any case justified in our eyes.
The ClubSport CSW v2.5 wheel base can be ordered via the Fanatec website.
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