As an optional add-on to Logitech’s G29 (which I recently reviewed) and G920 racing wheels which have recently become available, the Driving Force Shifter is of some value to buyers of these racing wheels. Seeing as it’s an optional part of the package, I felt that it deserved a review of its own, because it’s limited in functionality and because there are no plans currently to bundle it with either the G29 or the G920. Let’s take a quick look at it then.
The Driving Force Shifter is the distant cousin of the shifters that came with the Driving Force G25 and G27, giving you a six-speed gate with a short and precise throw, along with one reverse gear that requires pressing the gearstick down and to the right, just like a VW Beetle. It’s quite small and unobtrusive, and weighs less than a kilogram to boot.
While the base of the shifter and the knob is plastic, the gear stalk is made of stainless steel and is covered by a leather shifter glove. The knob is wrapped in leather secured with glue, and it doesn’t feel too cheap. The top of the gearstick is covered by a plastic lid detailing the basic layout of the gear gates, but this isn’t fastened down. You can pop it off with a flathead screwdriver, which allows you to then remove the gear knob and replace it with your own one. Like the older versions of this shifter, there’s still a clunk at the end of every shift for gates 3 to 4 if you do it roughly, which is the rather unappealing sound of the metal gear stalk banging against the plastic rim of the gear shaft.
The feel of the shifter is generally quite nice, and I prefer the shorter throw because you can be gentle with it, using the tips of your fingers to guide it through the gate. But it needs to be pointed out that this is the exact same hardware internally as the shifter for the G27. All that it’s really missing is the extra buttons on the G27’s console. Even the mods for turning it into a sequential shifter or dampening the sound are the same. Because it communicates using a COM port, you can also buy a COM to USB adapter and use this shifter with any wheel set that you want, or keep it as a second gearstick for playing games that feature vehicles that have two sets of gears.
In the end, the Driving Force Shifter is a rather confusing product due to it not being bundled with Logitech’s new racing wheels. It’s separately available from the G29 and G920 and costs R800. It’s pretty much a vital component to the experience of owning either wheel because they both include the pedal set with a clutch, so I’m not sure why Logitech decided to separate them. Still, for what it’s worth, the shifter also has value in other racing wheel setups, and it doesn’t feel overly cheap either.