The ever impressive infotainment system in the iQ also comes equipped with Bluetooth hands free. Unlike the Porsche Cayman we looked at recently, the iQ had no problem connecting to pretty much any phone, using a standard Bluetooth hands free profile. Within a matter of seconds I had my iPhone 3G registered and paired with the system.
If you're in the habit of sharing your car with others, you'll be glad to know that up to six handsets can be paired with the iQ, which should be more than enough, unless your family is the Brady Bunch.
When in phone mode, both the current battery life and signal strength for your handset will be displayed, thus making it easy to tell if you have a strong enough signal to make a call before dialling. Again, unlike the system in the Porsche Cayman, you can answer a call by simply tapping a large button on the touch-screen, rather than having to look for a hardware button.
It's not all a bed of roses on the communication side though. First up, although the iQ paired with my iPhone without issue, it wouldn't import my contacts, leaving me to manually enter any numbers that I might want to call from the car. Considering that hands free systems like the one seen in the Audi A8 will automatically import your entire contact list upon pairing, this omission is slightly disappointing.
The difficult nature of getting your contacts list onto the system is compounded by the fact that there is no voice control. So, even when you've manually entered all the names and numbers that you need, you still have to tap through menus on the screen to dial one of them.
But the biggest letdown when it comes to communication is the actual call quality. Now, when you're sitting in the car you'd be forgiven for thinking that the call quality is superb - everything that the person on the other end of the line says comes through the sound system load and clear. However, the person that you're talking to ends up hearing something resembling a Dalek. In fact Andy was so adamant about the poor quality that I let him sit in the car, while I called him from the office - he wasn't exaggerating!
It's a very odd state of affairs, because I've encountered poor call quality using hands free systems before, but it usually means that you sound distant, or that there's too much background noise. In this case it's as if the sound is being processed (badly) somewhere along the way.