The XKR shares the same communication system as the XF that I looked at, which is no bad thing, but that does mean that it suffers from the same couple of niggles. You connect your phone up using Bluetooth, and I didn’t have any issues pairing my iPhone 3G or any other phone that I had handy for that matter. It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes to get your phone paired, after which it will automatically dock with the car each time you climb aboard.
Dialling numbers using the touch-screen is simple enough, but the amount of numbers I carry around in my head is pretty meagre these days, thanks to carrying all my contacts around in my mobile for years. So, the best option is to create your own in-car phonebook complete with voice tags.
Although some systems will copy over your entire contacts list from your phone and automatically allow voice dialling for each of them, that kind of system isn’t without its problems. First up, you often have to learn how to pronounce names the way the system thinks they should be pronounced, otherwise your voice dialling won’t work. Second, I simply don’t need voice dialling for the vast majority of my contacts list anyway.
I prefer being able to record my own voice tags for the contacts that I’m actually likely to want to call while I’m driving. And when you want to call someone when driving, you simply press the handy steering wheel mounted button, although the same annoying two-stage method as seen in the XF remains. You have to say “dial name” then wait for a response asking you for a name, then say “Hugo” or whomever you want to dial. I’d rather just be able to say “Dial Hugo” and be done with it.
Call quality is excellent, as you’d expect given the quality of audio equipment inside this car. There’s no hint of the distant, echoing sound quality that’s apparent in some in-car Bluetooth systems. In fact most people that I called from the XKR didn’t even realise I was behind the wheel.