Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 Wheel Review

Getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari F430 is a special experience. Plush leather upholstery, a high-revving V8 howling behind you as you go faster and faster, scything through the turns thanks to the razer-sharp chassis. Sadly, for most of us the closest we’ll get to driving a F430 is through the screens of our PC or games console, but the Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 PC Steering Wheel hopes to give you some of that feeling – minus the noise, accelerative forces and smell of leather.

Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 Wheel

What’s in the box?

The Thrustmaster F430 wheel is a faithful recreation of the genuine Ferrari item, and even includes the Manettino switch that would normally control the F430’s traction control systems – more on this in a minute. You also get a set of pedals that includes accelerator and brake. The pedals are made of metal and the base is weighted for extra stability, which also helps to reduce any movements across the floor.

Unfortunately there’s no Italian leather to hold onto as the wheel itself is coated in rubber, but with an 11-inch diameter it is chunky and comfortable to hold. Behind the wheel are two metal paddles, obviously allowing you to control gear changes. In addition there are ten buttons (6 on the front, two behind the wheel and two on the base) and the bright red Engine Start button acts as an eight-way D-pad.

So is it any good?

The Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 immediately feels like it’s built to last as it’s solidly constructed and well screwed together. The buttons on the wheel all have a solid click action to them, and don’t feel too flimsy or lightweight. The pedals in particular feel great, with the right amount of tension in the springs that makes it much easier to measure out the throttle input in the middle of a corner.

The wheel is comfortable with an ergonomic shape that fits your grip almost perfectly, the thumb settling into the curves of the wheel. The gear paddles are also very well situated and are easy to reach with your fingers. The force feedback works extremely well, with a smooth action that makes it easy to release lock. The center position is very nicely judged, with none of the oscillation that affects some lesser wheels.

The clever little Manettino switch has five settings plus a push button that allows you to change the level of driver assistance or fine tune things like traction control and rear axle differentials.  Want to stiffen your suspension? Just turn the dial to the left. Need to increase the amount of traction control ? Just flick it to the right. Drivers are included on a CD and come with pre-configured profiles for some games, while the software allows the buttons to be reprogrammed to your own preference.

Finally the clamping mechanism is strong, and with a metal bolt and plate it really will grip onto the surface of your desk.

Anything wrong with it?

There’s very little to criticise about the Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 wheel. The biggest criticism is the turn angle, with just 270 degrees from lock to lock. For serious sim use you would expect a wheel to have 900 degrees of lock, as you’ll find on the Logitech G25. While that might look sound bad for the F430 wheel, in reality you should get away with it in most driving sims and not all players want much more than 270 degrees.

The lack of a clutch pedal will also upset some serious racers, but I would expect most gamers to be happy with just the brake and accelerator.

How much do I have to pay?

Thrustmaster are asking $160 or £100 as the RRP for the F430 wheel. This is quite steep for a mid-range wheel, but it is significantly cheaper than the $299 Logitech G25. While part of the retail price will no doubt be going to Ferrari for the privilege of putting their name on the wheel, the quality of the Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 does stop you feeling like you’ve been ripped off.

The good news is that the usual online retailers are offering healthy discounts on that RRP price. Amazon.com will sell you a Ferrari wheel for $138, while Amazon.co.uk will sell you it for £75.

Conclusion

The Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 wheel is one of those rare things – a branded peripheral that’s actually quite good. While the link to Ferrari is tenuous at best, the resulting wheel is great to use for all but the most realistic driving sims. If you don’t mind the cost, this is a pc steering wheel that you will enjoy owning.

Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 On Ebay

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Author: Chris

Chris is a devout PC gamer who spends way, way too much time sat at his PC either gaming or writing. You can find Chris on Google+

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10 Comments

  1. the gear shift flippers are off, they should be a sizable amount of degrees further inwards and less curved.

  2. Do you mean they’re off for comfortable game play, or as a 100% accurate reproduction of a Ferrari wheel?

  3. great wheel for the price buy from Costco and they throw in 1600m joystick for $109.00

  4. Thanks for the tip, MADFINN

  5. I recently purchased the Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 FFB Gamer steering wheel, and had been playing with it for only the 3rd time and experienced a problem during a rally game.

    When steering the wheel quickly left and right, I felt a minscule tug on the mechanism, and the wheel would only turn right. After closing the game, and trying another, the controller setup would not acknoledge the x-axis (steering) on the wheel. At this point I checked the foce feedback wheel setup ( where you test the button forces).

    The wheel isonc was still in the full turned CW rotation. I then tried to re-install the FFb drivers, and plug the wheel into the USB port of my computer, only to see it rotate back to the same position. When trying to re-calibrate the wheel using your “Manual Calibration Tool” and testing all axis, the X axis button showed, but when I turned the wheel, I got no acknowledgement what so ever.

    I think that the wheel has an actual mechanical problem internally that is not allowing the axis to register. WHen testing the wheel forces, the left-right button works fine ( the wheel does turn left and right). I certainly hope Thrustmaster can solve this dilemma if not I think I’m sending it back.

  6. Damn, that’s disappointing. I hope you get a good result from Thrustmaster! Let us know how you get on, it’s always good to hear how the support is from companies.

  7. after 3 weeks of normal use my wheel developed a nasty squeek when i turn to right like something rubbing. think its the metal piece that turns . so annoying and makes a great wheel sound like a rusty piece of crap

  8. If you are reading this and want a true opinion about this (crap) wheel listen and believe me! Just want to get rid of mine as soon as possible! Trying to…

    After 6 months of regular and careful playing on the PC the brake pedal had some kind of burst playing rFactor. I open up the pedal even if the guarantee was lost because i race in a league and couldn’t stay too many time without the wheel! What i found is that the two (fragile) springs of the brake pedal broke at the same time and some kind of “iman” support broke too (I WAS JUST GENTLY BRAKING!! SOMETHING THAT YOU NORMALLY DO WITH THE BRAKE!! LOL!). My surprise is that the throttle springs were starting to broke too! The wheel is normal quality but the pedal set is simply horrible, lots of plastic and those “weak” springs are just ridiculous! I have made those “springs” to substitute the old ones cause if it goes to guarantee i was 2 or 3 months without wheel. Now i have the pedal set working but i’m trying to sell it, i don’t want to hear about anything related to Thrustmaster in my entire life! I’m just buying a logitech G27 wich i should have bought when i first bought that thrustmaster piece of s….
    Other issue i found is that it don’t work with GT5 on PS3 because of an update 1.11/1.12 so the support is crappy too and you’ll be with it just to play stupid DIRT kid games.

    – Just don’t buy it, the wheel is nothing special, pedals are too fragile and even with me (i’m very cautious with my hardware) that happen, it’s not worth the price, 50 euro should be more than enough for that piece of junk! DON’T BUY IT, SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR SOMETHING BETTER!! IF YOU’RE BUYING IT SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL BE REMEMBERING THIS POST!

  9. I race on Iracing…This wheel was GREAT for my beginner days, and even now it still does the job. But what was said in the reveiw about the lock to lock only being 270 degree’s makes me want to try a wheel with 900 degree’s lock to lock, which ALOT of the real competitive guys use…So I am actually selling my F430 Thrustmaster, but not because I dont like it, I just want to see if a wheel with a 900 degree lock to lock helps at all..I would keep it, but I want to just sell it to put the money twoards the new wheel cuz either way, the new wheel cant be worse…It can either be just as good or better. So mite as well sell it…It treated me Good though and will treat the buyer just as good.

  10. Clamping mechanism is worst ever created. You can move the wheel up and down with one finger! And it just broke when my 13 months year old son pulled it. Don’t buy it.

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