I played through single player with my Logitech G27 Racing Wheel. I didn't try playing it with a controller, but I do know that this game is designed to be controller friendly.
I found this game to give a really fun racing experience without being punishingly difficult or realistic. Unlike games that are designed to be simulations first, it really feels like GRID 2 is designed to be a fun game first.
The fun comes from a few things.
First of all, the racing does really feel "intense" - this comes through thanks to all the great visuals and sounds. It's not easy to describe, but there's just loads of polish on the overall aesthetic. The wide variety of levels and locations really helps here as well.
Second of all, they have lots of little ways to prevent you from getting frustrated. My favorite mechanic is the flashback mechanic - it basically lets you rewind time to undo a mistake you made. This is really great because not only does it prevent you from going "oh no, I need to restart the whole race...", it also gives you the opportunity to learn much more quickly. There's a limit to how many times you can do this so it doesn't make the game too easy. Furthermore, they have a wide range of difficulty settings for all levels of experience. I have only played a few racing games and found the Easy difficulty to be decently challenging without being frustrating. Finally, they have this guy who is talking to you all the time who will ocassionally offer useful suggestions and keep you focused on what to do during a race (and it doesn't get annoying, in my opinion).
Third, the overarching story of trying to get fame for the WSR feels like a pretty significant goal. There's lots of different ways you can advance the story (for example, if you don't like a particular type of event you can focus on other types of events).
My major issue with the game is that, towards the fourth WSR series, I felt like the content was becoming a bit same-y and it started to feel like a bit of a grind.
Overall, if you are interested in having a fun racing experience as a change from a hardcore, realistic racing sim, this game is pretty fun. I haven't played many other PC games in the genre, though, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt.