Jaguar's New XF Brings Smartphone Inspired Infotainment

When you look at a modern smartphone, you'll see at most four or five buttons. Then go to your car and count the multitude of knobs, switches and levers littering the dashboard and console. On the all-new XF luxury sedan, Jaguar looked to smartphones for inspiration on how to cut down clutter for its redesigned infotainment system.

But before we continue, just take a second to marvel at the XF's gorgeous aluminum body. Available in white with black accents, the XF looks like an elite Stormtrooper who's ready to finally put down those pesky rebels. OK, back to business.

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On the XF, Jaguar offers two levels of infotainment, InControl Touch and InControl Touch Pro, with the Pro version getting most of the attention. The first thing you notice about the new 10.2-inch touchscreen is its lack of  physical buttons surrounding the display. Like stock Android 5.0, Jaguar uses a row of on-screen touch buttons placed along the bottom of the screen. Now, the only physical controls left on the dash are the buttons below the display for climate control.

The smartphone design cues don't stop there. You can customize the home screen with new wallpapers, or use established gestures, such as swiping to move from screen to screen and pinch-to-zoom to expand the map. You can even connect your Android or iOS phone to the car with a cable for integrating such third-party apps as Spotify. The driver and passenger can even see two completely different views from the display, thanks to Jag's Dual View tech. This means the driver can keep their eyes locked on navigation while the passenger enjoys a movie - at the same time.

InControl Touch Pro also works with Jaguar's optional digital instrument cluster, which replaces the traditional speedometer and odometer with a LCD display. This lets you customize which readouts you want, or replace it completely with navigation info.

When you are away from your car, there's also the InControl Remote mobile app which connects to the car's built-in Wi-Fi so you can access fuel data, unlock the doors, or even turn on the air conditioning before you even step inside on a hot summer's day.

Other technological improvements include an improved Active Speed Limiter, which uses cameras that can recognize speed signs to automatically adjust the cruise control to stay within limits -- perfect for when you're busy looking at the map behind the dash. There's also semi-automatic parking, adaptive cruise control with lane assist and even a color laser heads-up display.

In the US, the standard XF comes with a 3.0-liter 340 horsepower supercharged V-6 engine, with the race-inspired XF-S featuring a beefier 380-hp power plant. The only transmission choice is a 8-speed automatic.

The XF will be available later this year, and while official pricing hasn't been announced, it shouldn't stray too far from the $50,000 starting price of the outgoing model.

Sam Rutherford is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide. Follow him @SamRutherford on Twitter, andTom’s Guide on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Sam is a Senior Writer at Engadget and previously worked at Gizmodo as a Senior Reporter. Before that, he worked at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer and Senior Product Review Analyst, overseeing benchmarks and testing for countless product reviews. He was also an archery instructor and a penguin trainer too (really).