That last one might seem odd, but trust me: After nearly a decade of driving a different car every week, you realize the importance of the item that not only helps you keep on the right course, but is also the thing you interact with most while you do so.
What makes a good steering wheel? Well, let's put things into perspective here: My all-time favourite steering wheel (and it has been for a few model years now) is the M3’s. It's chunky, I adore the stitching (not uncomfortable or obtrusive), it's on the small side, and it's not overly loaded with buttons and what have you. It drives the dynamic vehicle it's attached to and that's the most important thing. I would say the same of the steering wheel in the VW Scirocco R and/or VW GTI.
On the flip side, any steering wheel from Acura has me wishing for reigns instead. And I absolutely loathe the angle of the wheel in the Chevy Camaro.
Car makers are so obsessed with loading their current vehicles with as much technological gadgetry as possible, and all that hi-tech stuff ends up trickling onto the steering wheel, which really gets to me. I appreciate a button for volume and maybe another one to answer and hang up a call, but that's it! I'm there to drive, not text my mother.
Another steering wheel worth mentioning is the Porsche 911 Turbo’s: plain, simple, and absolutely fantastic, I relished every moment with it. Free of buttons and toggles, it only featured backlit words that let you know when you were in Launch Control mode (which really is all that matters).
Sometimes it shocks me when I get into a car and see and feel a poorly designed steering wheel. How can something so integral to the overall experience of a vehicle be so polarizing? At the same time, I also feel like the steering wheel can be a pretty personal affair: What I find appealing you may find annoying, and vice versa.
Where will my next favourite steering wheel emerge? Who knows, but I can't wait to buckle in and take hold to find out.
|BMW M3 Coupe cabine (Photo: BMW)|