This is not a replica.
Developed together with BMW M Motorsport, the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 is the actual wheel made for the 2022 BMW M4 GT3 race car.Fanatec
When it comes to Podium’s BMW M4 GT3 Steering Wheel, there is a lot to like. Not only is the steering wheel a great addition for those of you looking for the true BMW feel, but it also offers a great throwback to those who fell in love with the BMW M3 GTR from Need For Speed: Most Wanted.
This sim racing steering wheel gives you the feel of the racecar itself as you take the M4 GT3 on a cruise in Forza Horizon or for a more realistic session in rFactor 2 (or other realistic racing sims).
The BMW aesthetic and feel shine out in this steering wheel, making it a great addition to your simulator. But there is no doubt that it falls under the more expensive wheels out there. Fanatecs Podium steering wheels are well known for their quality and prices, but is this one really worth it? Should you buy the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel? Or are there other, better options in the same price range?
This article will examine this steering wheel closely to give you a better idea of what you can expect from the wheel and whether it is a good investment.
The Podium BMW M4 GT3 Steering Wheel – Review Summary
First and foremost, the steering wheel is an excellent choice for those who want a powerful and reliable wheel that can handle both track and off-road feedback effectively. The Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel offers a premium value proposition with its high price point, but compared to other similar wheels, it offers a much better all-rounded experience.
Of course, there are other, more premium options as well, such as the Podium Racing Wheel F1®, but if you compare it to other car-dedicated steering wheels, the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel costs almost $1,000 more! Consider the Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R Suede, costing almost half as much and giving you a similar F1 experience.
With the lower price tag, though, there are several options you miss out on, too. This includes the lower power capacity, dimensions, performance, and most importantly, the unbeatable build quality.
The biggest problem with the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel is that it does not come with a wheelbase, despite the high cost. Considering the F1® wheel, even though it is designed with the PS4 in mind and costs more, you get a direct-drive wheelbase with the purchase. For this steering, you may need a DD1 or DD2 wheelbase from Fanatec (among others) for best results. This would end up totaling your investment from $2,500 to $3,000! Sounds like a lot if you are a casual sim racing driver. However, some drivers spend 8 hours or more behind the wheel, doing many laps each and every day.
The wheel offers great competitive performance, though, with more control and feedback than most other steering wheels in the market. The power steering weighs just 2 kg (4.41 lb.), making it easy to keep the vehicle on the course at high speeds. The suspension compatibility means that your steering will help you feel the entire road.
During drifts, the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel offers impeccable performance and a great feel, but you may have to struggle a bit (depending on the base you choose) to maintain control. This is the type of effort most sim racers are looking for when drifting since the struggle will help you get a much better feel of your road and avoid under or oversteering.
In short, while the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel is a great choice for anyone looking for a powerful and capable sports car-isq steering wheel, the price point and what you can get for a similar investment is something that you may need to consider.
Detailed Review of the Podium BMW M4 GT3 Steering Wheel
For the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3, Fanatec partnered with BMW throughout the research and development phase. The wheel is registered by BMW to represent the real racing wheel in its M4 GT line and has chosen it for racer training in many of its professional sims!
Now, let’s take a closer look at each feature you can get with the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel.
The Build Quality
Regarding the build quality, the M4 GT3 steering wheel is second to none. Designed to fit in the real GT3, according to the manufacturer, this steering wheel is not a replica but the real thing. The steering wheel is constructed from high-strength steel and aluminum and is the same thing you will find in the real racing car. This is the first time a manufacturer has taken this bold step, hence the high price.
The steering has a gold anodized QR1 Wheel-Side, so you don’t have to quickly worry about wear and tear. While some features are obvious when you look at the build quality, others will need you to dive deeper into the wheel.
From our testing, we found that the buttons and the wheel are made to last and keep you racing for hours on end. The Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel is a great tool for endurance races. The wheel’s relaxing and premium feel is something we still haven’t gotten used to!
There are 12 buttons on the wheel itself, while there are two more at the rear that you can either use to shift gears, as an accelerator and brake or customize to your specific requirements. Much like the F1® steering wheel, the wheel has dual-action magnetic shifters with push and pull functionality. These magnetic shifters feel very smooth even under high-intensity usage.
The most common usage for these shifters is for upshifting and downshifting, but you can also customize it for your use.
And then there is the grip. One of the most premium grips out there, the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel, allows you to play with the ergonomic steering wheel so that almost every button is within your thumb’s reach.
The buttons are illuminated with RGB LED lights beneath them, allowing you to customize them according to your preferences. Of course, each button initially has its own setting, allowing even beginners to familiarize themselves with a professional BMW M4 GT3 on the tracks.
It is important to note that this customization is only possible with FanaLab, a software dedicated to the Windows platform (PC). For the PS4, you will have to stick to the predefined settings, while if you manage to connect the wheel to your Xbox, MacOS, or Linux, the lights, buttons, switches, or even the wheel itself may not give you the performance you are looking for.
Another feature that the steering wheel has in common with the premium F1® racing wheel is the carbon fiber build and the OLED display. However, unlike the latter, it has a 1-inch OLED display (against the 2-inch display) for telemetry data.
In a word, the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel’s performance is outstanding. The manufacturer suggests that during the research and development process of the steering wheel, it made no compromises, and it shows in the final product.
The lightweight and durable build comes with many high-tech features that you may not be able to find in other steering wheels. Everything is designed to respond to your inputs effectively, from the buttons to the spring action to the pedals underneath.
There is mistaken input recognition in the buttons, though. In many instances, the wheel does tend to act intuitively, giving you forced feedback on accidental presses (especially in endurance races) or if you are pushing your car too much.
Replacing of elements
Each wheel element is replaceable, giving you complete autonomy over the body. The quick-release system is gold-anodized, especially when combined with the DD1 or DD2. This means better performance, low wear, and tear, and most importantly, it solves one of the biggest problems in the steering wheel world; requiring force to remove or install steering wheels.
We found the steering wheel offered exceptionally smooth performance even during drifts, with a very satisfying click when we reached its maximum axis. Unlike many others, the wheel does not become cumbersome beyond the 180° mark.
The telemetry data on its OLED display automatically changes throughout the race intuitively, giving you warnings, showing performance metrics, and more to help you throughout the race. From the gears to the fuel gauge, damage indicators, speed, records, wind force, and more, depending on the sim racer you choose, you can find reliable data for it all in one place!
Made to measure
The improved performance comes with the GT3 racing implementations by BMW (according to the FIA standards) and the anti-slip grips. The 308 mm wheel has durable rubber grips on the carbon fiber. Unlike the less costly counterparts, the grips are Shore 60, which means that even with rough use, they can last years on end before they need a replacement!
The anti-reflective coating further adds more aesthetic value and avoids glare from the screen, especially when installed in motion simulators. The Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel can easily handle smooth and rough roads. In addition, when you brake, the steering wheel instantly gives you feedback on the road and the tires, allowing you to respond accordingly to avoid slippage. With the ABS turned off, this feature allows for much better braking – something you can only do when you can truly feel the road.
The M4 GT3 steering wheel is simply in a class by itself. This further allows you to avoid over and under steer when accelerating, as you get to understand when you are pressing too hard to too little on the pedals. You can stick to the roads with this top-of-the-line steering wheel for aggressive and smooth driving, from ovals such as Daytona to monster racing rings such as Nürburgring.
The BMW logo at the center acts as a D-pad for your game, allowing you to make different driving choices without taking your hand too far off the wheel. This makes pitstops much easier and conserves energy during endurance races.
Considering the price range, its features are impressive but nothing that would turn heads. There are 14 buttons with a 700g activation force, avoiding accidental touches and giving a very satisfying feel to them. The LED lights can be programmed to dim, change colors, reflect flags, or even operate as RevLEDs. However, this customization is only limited to PCs. For PS4 and Xbox, the steering wheel automatically changes colors based on the game’s settings.
There are three 12-way switches evident on the wheel. These switches can be used for tuning settings, wheel settings, or more, based on how you program them. We found these switches to be much more useful on PC than on other platforms, though via the FanaLab.
The two analog clutch pedals are adjustable and mappable to perform according to specific input thresholds. If you’d like, you can also program them to be nothing more than “stress relievers,” but we found them to be most effective as clutch and handbrake pedals. Of course, you are the boss of your wheel, so you can program them accordingly.
Remember, the wheelbase is NOT included with the purchase. This product is not compatible with the Xbox console, but there are several bypasses that you can use to make it run. The steering wheel will not perform as intended for the Xbox console, though, and would offer little to no value for money in this state.
Weighing just 2kg, this wheel is sturdy yet low-profile enough to offer a comfortable ride to the top. It is 12 inches in length, 8 inches wide and convenient 7.8 inches in height (31cm x 21cm x 20cm, L x W x H).
Right on top of the grip, there are two notches that you can use for traction control, brake assist, or other similar features, as programmed.
The box is aesthetically pleasing pearl white with the BMW colors on the top. The BMW and Fanatec logo is on top, showcasing the partnership for the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel. You pull out a black box with an outline of the wheel and the BMW logo from the white cover and open it to immediately be welcomed by the steering wheel itself (oh, and there is a very satisfying fragrance of the carbon fiber and rubber along with it, too).
You can pick it up immediately and try out the button. You will feel the heft immediately, and the buttons (especially the levers) will stand out right from the beginning.
Lifting the wheel, you will see the QR1 wheel side or the QR2 wheel side if you buy a First Edition (in a separate package). You can pull out the steering wheel’s housing to find a QR1 or QR2 update cable, respectively, too.
And that’s all there is to the box itself. Considering the purchase price, we found the unboxing slightly underwhelming, but the wheel’s build quality, heft, and the real feeling of the purchase were worth it.
Now, let’s dive into the wheel’s technical aspects. Here is a chart showcasing what you can expect from the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel.
|Platform||PC, PS4 Ready|
|Dual Analog Paddle Modes||Advanced Clutch Bite-PointBrake/ThrottleClutch/HandbrakeClutch Bite-Point Mappable Analog Axis|
|Weight (Approx.)||1400 G|
|Grip Material finish||Over-molded Rubber|
|Detachable Button Caps||Yes|
|Display||1″ 128×64 OLED|
|Paddle Shifter Adjustability||Distance To Rim|
|Rev Lights||RevLED Emulation Via Illuminated Buttons|
Pros & Cons of Podium BMW M4 GT3 Steering Wheel
Now that we have a good idea of what to expect from the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel, it is important to list the good and bad together to help you make an informed decision. Let’s examine the pros and cons of purchasing the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel.
|Similar to the real thing.||Lack of product warranty despite the high cost. However, the build quality suggests that the product is long-lived on its own.|
|Developed by BMW and Fanatec for sim racers and actual racers alike.||Incompatible with the Xbox without external hardware. However, even with the hardware, there is no nativity to the Xbox console, and several buttons may malfunction.|
|Very premium build quality.||The price range is much higher than the competition’s, especially considering it is only a steering wheel without a base.|
|Unique quick release system for better and smoother releases||The Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel is not compatible with OS other than Windows. Linux and macOS may require third-party software, and compatibility may suffer even then.|
|The full carbon fiber body|
|Gold anodized release system|
|CAN bus communication system for compatibility with automotive technology, hence better driving experiences|
|Three rotary switches|
|Durable hand grips|
|Long-lasting build quality|
There are several competitors to the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel, but they are not exactly as “premium” or designed to give an authentic F1/GTR drive feel. The podium has several competing steering wheels in its roster, many of which are designed with specific cars in mind.
One of the most common comparisons made with the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel is that of the Podium Racing Wheel F1®. Although it costs around $500 more than the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel, there is no denying that including Fanatec’s Podium Wheelbase DD1 with the F1® steering wheel is a welcome addition – hence making it a much more viable investment. The F1® steering wheel is also designed specifically for the PS4 but is also compatible with the Xbox system and PC.
While when it comes to premium purchases, the F1® offers better value for money than the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel, but the latter does not come without its edge. The feel and design of the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel are much more “premium” compared to the F1 and true to the original car’s design. For those looking for a truly authentic experience and aesthetic, the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel is here to deliver.
Then there are other car-specific models as well that you can consider if the price is an obstacle. However, keep in mind that, albeit inexpensive, you will still have to buy a wheelbase for them. Unlike the F1®, they do not come with a premium wheelbase. If you choose to buy the DD1 or DD2 (open for pre-orders or review units at the time of writing) separately, the cost may end up matching that of the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel or the F1®.
The Gran Turismo DD Pro (8 Nm) or the Gran Turismo DD Pro (5 Nm) are two cost-effective options for getting the complete package, though, and will cost you much less than the steering wheel itself. However, they neither have the dedicated car build nor are they as premium as the Podium BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel. You will have to sacrifice quite a bit in terms of quality, functionality, and feel when going for these two packages, even though they come with a wheelbase and pedals.
If you really must go for a car-specific limited-edition steering wheel, Fanatec offers several options that you can go for. Two of the most cost-effective editions include the Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R Suede and the Podium Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 R Leather. As the name suggests, both are dedicated to the Porsche 911 GT3 R, a record-breaking car in the field.
Of course, these steering wheels have functionality and a unique feel, but they are nowhere near as high quality as the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3. Both these wheels differ only in terms of their feelings, but you could buy both for less than what you would have to spend for the BMW.
Other competitors offered by Fanatec include the ClubSport Steering Wheel NASCAR V2, the ClubSport Steering Wheel BMW GT2 V2, and one of the most cost-effective options, the CSL Elite Steering Wheel McLaren GT3 V2 steering wheel.
These competitors are more geared toward those looking for cost-effective yet high-quality gameplay but not for those who want to adopt a “no compromise” approach to sim racing. For those of you for whom price is not an obstacle, the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 and the DD2 Wheelbase combine to make up the perfect combination of style, class, elegance, feel, and performance.
And of course, the aesthetic appeal of the BMW and DD2 is something that no other steering wheel has been able to compete with… yet. While Fanatec is actively looking to improve its roster further with even more state-of-the-art steering wheels, the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 stands at the top of the wish list for many.
The Podium BMW M4 GT3 – A New Class of Sim Steering Wheels
The M4 GT3 steering wheel has introduced a new class of racing wheel design into the industry. While Fanatec is known for its partnership with different car manufacturers in search of the perfect steering, the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3 is a prime contender for achieving this goal.
It is a great choice for anyone looking for a powerful and capable sports car steering wheel that can withstand years of aggressive gaming and offer a much better endurance racing experience across the board. The steering’s build quality is excellent, and its performance and specifications are simply outstanding.
Thanks to its superb steering and handling, the Fanatec has now introduced a new class of racing sim wheels with the Podium Steering Wheel BMW M4 GT3, one where racers get to drive with original GTR and F1 wheels at their disposal! It is only fair to expect the coming Podium series gear and accessories to follow suit and focus on quality above all else! Enjoy the ride and see you at the checkered flag!