If you have never driven a car with an aftermarket steering wheel, you're missing out. There's something compelling about the feel. Perhaps it's the smaller diameter or the thicker padding. Maybe it's the soft sensation and firm grip on the leather and suede finish that gets us. Whatever it is, the ergonomics give a more positive driving experience - something a big, clunky stock wheel doesn't offer.
For our '03 VW GTI 1.8T, we decided to give a Momo steering wheel a try. Browsing its website, the Italian company has more than 100 different wheels in various diameters, styles and materials. The Monte Carlo looked the cleanest and most appropriate for our project car with its black leather and metal finish.
It comes in two sizes - 13.78" and 12.6". Since we wanted the feel of a small wheel, we opted for the 12.6" which only weighed 5.51 lb. In order to install the wheel, we also required a hub adapter that would mate the new wheel to our steering column. Momo has virtually every Euro application available, whether you drive a Mk1 VW, BMW M3 or Audi A4 -they have it all. The MSRP for the wheel and hub was $220 and $95 respectively, but Momo regularly discounts it products, so check the website.
Disclaimer: Our GTI originally came with an airbag system. By installing an aftermarket steering wheel, you lose this function. If safety is a major concern, we don't recommend performing this modification. A smaller wheel can also produce more precise or twitchy steering.
Next Month After two years with the Hartmann Lambo Gallardo replica wheels, we decided to return to basics with our original BBS LMs that had been repolished and fitted with Toyo tires. We also have some surprising performance upgrades coming, so stay tuned!