Sat-nav voices and the real people behind them

Published: 29 December 2010

If you’ve got a sat-nav system – and it isn’t voiced by Brian Blessed, Mr T or Master Yoda – then there’s probably a woman’s voice that commands your every move from within that little GPS screen.

Like me I’m sure that at least once you’ve wondered what that woman looks like and what she would be like in real life? Go on, admit it, you were stuck in traffic and just started to ponder whether she was a blonde or brunette, tall or short, and whether she’s that posh and bossy in real life, or whether there’s a streak of rough in her too. No? Then you’re either lying or don’t know what you’re missing.

The real people behind sat-nav voices

Only now Mercedes has spoiled that fantasy and released images of the women (and man) that voice the sat-nav systems in the S-class. What were they thinking?

I really don’t want to know what they look like. It’s like meeting your childhood hero (or driving the supercar that was on your bedroom wall during your formative years) and discovering that he/she/it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

Why couldn’t Mercedes have just lied and pretended a bunch of supermodels and actresses were the voices? You know, Heidi Klum for Germany and Keira Knightley for Great Britain. That sort of thing.

A voice for every occasion

The images have got me thinking though. Just how does the weird world of sat-navs work? Does Mercedes have a different class of woman for the S-, E- and C-class? Posh totty for the limo, and someone more run of the mill for the repmobile?

Do the women have to sign exclusivity contracts, so they only work for Mercedes and don’t voice the GPS systems in the 7-series, A8 and XJ as well? And do the voices get upgraded when the cars are facelifted, for something a little fresher?

More importantly, just what sort of strange seductive eyes is the male voice for Turkey giving the camera?

Think I’d better stop this blog here. Please make a U-turn… 

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy