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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Nursery group bans children using glitter in Christmas crafts

November 17 2017

Children are to be banned from using glitter at a group of nurseries due to concerns about the damage it does to the environment. The substance, loved by youngsters for making Christmas cards and baubles, is being banished at Tops Day Nurseries – a chain of 19 nurseries across the south of England. Managing director Cheryl Hadland told the Press Association she made the decision after realising glitter is a microplastic which can harm the environment. Cheryl Hadland said she has banned glitter from her chain of nurseries because of the damage it does to the environment (Cheryl Hadland/PA) She said: “You can see when the children are taking their bits of craft home and there’s glitter on the cardboard, it blows off and into the air and on to the road, and it’s only a tiny little bit, but we’ve got 3,000 children and they’re all doing Christmas craft at the moment, so we’ve got glitter everywhere. “There are 22,000 nurseries in the country, so if we’re all getting through kilos and kilos of glitter, we’re doing terrible damage, and these children, the world is for them. “So here we are wrecking the place for them, and I didn’t even know. I’ve been running the nurseries for 27 years and I had no idea that we were doing all that damage. You can’t really recycle it because it’s so small, you can’t separate it from anything.” Ms Hadland, from Bournemouth, added: “I love glitter, it’s lovely, shiny, twinkly stuff, so it is kind of sad, but when we’re wrecking the environment we really can’t be doing it. So we’re just going to have to start getting our heads round using stuff that’s more sustainable.” The decision to ban glitter is part of attempts to make the nurseries more sustainable and protect the environment (PA) She said the decision has only just been made so parents may not be aware of it, but she insisted they are likely to be supportive. “We did a survey a few months ago and 86% of our parents want us to be eco-sustainable. I think a lot of our parents really want us to do this.” Many parents who use her nurseries are millennials, she said, who are likely to want a sustainable education for their child. Sue Kinsey, from the Marine Conservation Society, praised the “proactive approach”. “The majority of microplastics that get into the sea come from personal care products, household cleaners, tyre wear and other sources,” she said. “While glitter is only a small part of the microplastic load getting into watercourses and the sea, steps like these will all add up to something greater. “This is a very proactive approach, amongst lots of things that the nursery is doing to help the environment, like using cloth aprons and not releasing balloons outdoors, and it is definitely possible to create a Christmas card to take home without using glitter!” Ms Hadland said parents are likely to be supportive of the glitter ban (Andrew Matthews/PA) Sue Learner, editor of daynurseries.co.uk, said: “We can only hope that by Cheryl Hadland raising awareness of the damage glitter can cause, other nursery owners and managers may be prompted to think about what decorative materials are being given to children and the potential impact it has on the environment.” (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Alison Kershaw'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'cc1a97cf-56a0-4cdc-9431-1eff052688a3'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Nursery group bans children using glitter in Christmas crafts'});

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit – a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Dundee

Youths smash gritter driver’s cab window in Lochee attack

February 14 2013

Police are hunting two youths who smashed a gritter’s cab window during Wednesday night’s snow. The 38-year-old driver was gritting in Lochee Road next to Dudhope Park at about 7.30pm when two youths in the park threw something at his cab. The cab window shattered and the driver suffered a cut on his cheek. A police spokesman said: “The two responsible are described as both being around 14. One was wearing a white jacket. They both ran off after the incident.” Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0300 1112222. For more on this story, see Friday’s Courier or try our new digital edition.

Snowplough on gritter lorry helps widow get to husband’s funeral

December 11 2017

A gritter lorry fitted with a snowplough was called into action to help a widow get to her husband’s funeral. The vehicle was needed to clear the snow in North Leigh, near Witney, Oxfordshire after the woman could not get out of her street. Liam Walker, county councillor for Hanborough and Minster Lovell, had organised a group of volunteers with shovels to help. Anyone in or near North Leigh free to assist with clearing a route on Bridewell Close. A lady here has her husbands funeral at 11am and needs to get out. Bring a shovel! pic.twitter.com/4mKsWcVMX7— Cllr Liam Walker (@_Liam_Walker_) December 11, 2017 He said: “I put out an appeal on Facebook and a few residents came out to help and then the gritter joined us. “What was a very small thing for the council to do was a really big thing for the lady and her family. “It’s a great example of the community coming together to help someone out.” One of our #gritters has made a quick diversion from the route so that a funeral can take place today. Really glad we could help. https://t.co/riwhmb6DmQ— Oxfordshire County (@OxfordshireCC) December 11, 2017 Across Oxfordshire the county council’s fleet of 25 gritters have been out ensuring the roads remain safe for motorists. In the last 24 hours they have covered more than 6,000 miles of Oxfordshire roads. Paul Wilson, the council’s winter operations manager, said: “The aim remains keeping our main road network clear. We watch the forecast intently and respond accordingly. “Fixing the snowploughs to the gritters is not something that we have to do very often in Oxfordshire and we can often go a full winter without it needing to happen.” (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Rod Minchin, Press Association'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '83cfc8d0-54cd-41b3-803e-984f33514ca3'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Snowplough on gritter lorry helps widow get to husbandu2019s funeral'});

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

You can help name Doncaster’s new gritters

November 9 2017

Winter is almost upon us, and councils up and down the land are preparing their winter kit. Doncaster Council has bought two new gritters and wants the public’s help in naming them. 😱*Puts on tin hat* 😱 We would like your name suggestions for two of our new gritting vehicles, please. Keep em clean and be original – we'd prefer not to spend the next few days trawling through responses of Gritty McGritface and Gary Gritter. 🙄 pic.twitter.com/rCH9HneHJe— Doncaster Council (@MyDoncaster) November 8, 2017 Despite recent attempts at public naming competitions going awry, the South Yorkshire council bravely put out the request on Twitter on Wednesday. It has asked for suggestions to be “clean and be original” – that means no Gritty McGritface or Gary Gritter. If you are looking for some inspiration, the council currently has gritters named Brad Grit, Usain Salt and a few other chuckle-worthy names. Don't forget we already have gritters with the following names:– Brad Grit– Gritney Spears– The Subzero Hero– Mr Plow– Usain Salt— Doncaster Council (@MyDoncaster) November 8, 2017 It didn’t take long for the public to join in. Here are some of the best suggestions so far: The Gravellator— Sam Wide 2017eu(W)A👌 (@Langworthy_47) November 8, 2017Spready mercury— Gary W (@gaz8630_drfc) November 8, 2017Lionel Gritchie— Darren Foxon-Wise (@Dazanova) November 8, 2017Cool Gritannia— DeanDean (@dinpy) November 9, 2017 If you’ve got a suggestion, just reply to the council’s tweet. Officials face a long and arduous task to pick the best names. We'll open the most popular suggestions up to a public vote. Once they've been vetted by a very serious panel of civil servants and had their comedy value assessed by a vigorous, five-stage process of course. pic.twitter.com/uJFrsxTRMQ— Doncaster Council (@MyDoncaster) November 8, 2017 (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Taylor Heyman'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '92dfa792-4448-4f71-a55d-074bd313b0d7'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:viral,paservice:viral:news'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'You can help name Doncasteru2019s new gritters'});

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

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