In my opinion the F430 wheel by Thrustmaster looks great and the wheel itself feels great. However the force feedback is pretty weak. Its not really the budget option as the price is on a par with the DFGT. 


28 centimeters in diameter, the wheel is an exact replica of the Ferrari F430 road car steering wheel. Features include 10 buttons on the wheel and the base, a D-Pad hiding behind the “start engine” button and the wheel’s most innovative feature – The Manettino.

The Manettino is a combination of rotary switch and button and can be used to tweak settings such as traction control, break bias and other stuff. The switch comes with two modes, automatic and manual. While the automatic mode works with a handful of supported titles, manual mode will allow you to map several features to the switch.

Other features include sequential shifting levers and brake/throttel pedals . Since the wheel is aimed at casual sim racers, the wheel does not offer more advanced features like a manual shifter or a clutch pedal. Those used to 900 degree steering will also be disappointed as steering ends at 270 degrees.

This is probably the biggest flaw for experienced sim racers as everyone who has been using 900 degrees of rotation will find it almost impossible to fully enjoy a wheel that is limited like that.

Design & Build Quality

When unpacking the wheel for the first time, the beautiful design is the first thing to catch you eye. Finally a steering wheel that looks like the real deal and not a cheap plastic toy. The backlit Manettino switch, the brushed metal and the big Ferrari logo make the F430 a particular beautiful wheel.

Even though Thrustmaster’s reputation isn’t the best when it comes to build quality, the F430 wheel will certainly change that. The wheel does not just look good, it also feels very durable and well-made, using a rubber coating and ergonomic molds for your hands.

The buttons and the Manettino switch don’t feel like they will wear out quickly and Thrustmaster certainly has learned their lesson with the shifting levers. While some of their other wheels had plastic levers, the F430 uses aluminum shifting levers that feel like they´re made to take quite a beating.

The pedal set is made of plastic and metal, like all pedals in these price range they´re not adjustable. Thrustmaster has made a good job with the spring-tension though as the pedals don’t feel floppy at all. Even though the pedals have rubber stops, I had quite a hard time with them sliding around on wooden floor – It might work better on carpet though.

Installation & Configuration

Alongside the wheel and the pedals, the box contains the power supply, the mounting kit as well as drivers and manual in seven languages. One of the wheel’s highlights is the well-designed mounting kit that allows you to mount the wheel quickly, using one screw. The kit reaches far under the table and gives the wheel’s base a very firm grip on the table.

Those lucky few of you having a racing cockpit will also be accommodated as the wheel is prepared with mounting holes for cockpit installation. Once the wheel is mounted and wired, the driver installation starts.

Just like mounting, the whole setup process is one smooth sail. The driver CD contains the latest driver version and does not force you to hunt down the newest drivers online. Once the drivers are installed and the wheel is plugged in, it will calibrate itself and you´re ready to go.

Now is the time when you will want to decide which Manettino mode to use. Since the automatic mode is only making sense with supported titles, the manual mode is your best bet. Modes are switched with a button on the wheel’s base, the manual mode allows you to assign several functions to the rotary switch positions. After you turned the switch to the desired position, pressing the button will activate it. That’s perfect for settings like traction control or brake bias where you can cycle through the values by pressing the button multiple times.

Driving & Force Feedback

With all settings completed, it’s time to get out on track and put the wheel to the test. The wheel uses dual pulley, belt and gears for Force Feedback, powered by Immersion’s Touchsense technology and the result is quite impressive.

Force Feedback feels very solid and convincing, even though the wheel can’t exactly be labeled silent. You´ll hear the wheel at work with FFB at full swing, it’s not loud enough to be really annoying though.

The ergonomic 28 centimeter wheel allows a very firm and comfortable grip for good car control, I´ll instantly felt comfortable while driving. The pedals are equally good as the spring tension & magnetic resistance allows controlled breaking and acceleration.

If you´re used to 900 degrees of rotation though, this wheel will probably not be for you as being limited to 270 degrees again takes some time to adjust. Since this wheel is aimed at more casual racers, the limitation makes sense though as 900 degree steering would probably not be used by most beginners anyway.

Features that everyone can appreciate are the D-Pad button and the Manettino switch, both valuable addition to the wheel. While the D-Pad can be used to look around or navigate through pit stop menus, the Manettino will take care of lots of settings, freeing the remaining buttons for other uses.


Thrustmaster has learned a lot from past mistakes as the F430 Force Feedback Wheel is a great product, matching the needs of the target audience. Casual sim racers will most likely not miss H-shifter, clutch pedal or 900 degree steering but appreciate a well designed and built wheel with innovative features like the Manettino switch.

If the above mentioned missing features aren’t a must for you and you´re looking for a good looking, durable wheel with decent Force Feedback, the F430 Force Feedback is your best bet.

Of course, the wheel can’t compete with higher-priced wheels like the Logitech G25 or the Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo terms of features or Force Feedback – But it won’t come with the same price tag attached either. Currently, the wheel sells for around 80 Euros in Europe and you won’t find more value for this kind of money anywhere else unless you consider the Logitech DFGT.

Source: virtualr