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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

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

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.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. Audi TT RS Coupé. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

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.

Opinion

Tee To Green: Money the lever to change R&A at last

April 1 2014

It’s never too late to do the right thing. No, not even after 260 years. And if it’s still “if” the R&A admit women members in September continuing to debate how they got there will seem a little pointless. However, it’s worth correcting a key misconception. Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A and the public face of the club, has been personified as the bulwark that prevented change. This was however a complete misunderstanding of Dawson’s position. He is not a director of the club, he is a servant of the membership. He could advise and use words some of us have been writing for 20 years like indefensible, untenable, and all the rest. Yet the members, largely comfortable with the policy and rather defiant when being told what to do, didn’t have to pay any attention. A clue to what was happening behind the doors of the Big House all these years came in Dawson’s admission last week that the all-male issue was discussed at every strategy meeting of the club hierarchy since he became chief executive in 2000. It could be that every two years they discussed how to counter the detrimental publicity the membership policy attracted. Just last August I heard a senior R&A official admit privately that, after the nightmare week at Muirfield, “we need a new argument”. However, this was not a personal approval of the policy but an understanding that getting change through the R&A membership was incredibly difficult. Because they’d been trying for years. Dawson is no crusader for equal rights, but he’s a practical man and, while publicly representing the club and stalwartly defending the indefensible all this time, there seems little doubt in private he was chipping away at the edifice. What changed? Well, they got the new argument they wanted, but it wasn’t for keeping the policy, it was for ending it. Despite Dawson’s comments, the influence of the Open’s commercial partners WAS key. Giles Morgan, the head of sponsorship and events for one of the Open’s major backers HSBC, went public in January saying the bank were “uneasy” with the all-male policy. That’s been taken as the tipping point, but Giles – a canny operator in his days dealing with that other Scottish sporting dinosaur, the SRU was pushing at an open door, maybe with the acquiescence of R&A officialdom. The R&A had already sounded out the commercial world in the review they had announced at Muirfield, probably knowing here was the lever to finally force change. The money that pours in from the Open, through TV and commercial partners, is crucial to the R&A. It allows the club to develop and promote golf globally and maintain their role as the guardians of the game. It’s been built over two centuries and unique in any major sport, and means more to the R&A than just about anything. A choice between the all-male policy and maintenance of that cherished role is a no-brainer, even for the most stubborn R&A member. *I spent much of last week wondering what Graeme McDowell was trying to apologise for. G-Mac said on Twitter his comments about Tiger Woods to journalists at Bay Hill were “taken out of context” – which is usually sports-speak for “I said it, but didn’t much like it when I saw it on the printed page”. Several respected golf journos were present at G-Mac’s press conference, most of whom are not given to sensationalising quotes. G-Mac, as we’ve noted before in T2G, is widely treasured in the press tent for having an opinion, speaking his mind eloquently and never being short of a usuable quote on just about any subject. So having missed the original story due to being distracted by 6 Nations shenanigans, I had to backtrack. Here’s what G-Mac said…“He’s lost that sort of force field of invincibility around him.” “The aura is not as strong.” “(When I first played with him) he was playing a different sport than me. But guys get older, stuff happens.” “(Younger players) are not out there believing he is unbeatable because the positive press that happened for 10 years has been replaced with some negativity,” “He’s still Tiger Woods, still the greatest player ever in my opinion.” What could possibly be taken out of context about that? It turns out that G-Mac’s comments, while eminently accurate to reasonable people, seem to fallen foul of the considerable legion of “Tiger Twitter Trolls”, those who do not countenance any criticism of the man in a public forum. The only people taking anything out of context are these morons roundly abusing G-Mac for having the temerity to make valid points. Still, his reaction was a little disappointing. Not everyone can be Ian Poulter, who when abused on twitter relishes giving it back, regularly making trolls look like (intellectual) dwarves. But I would hope G-Mac would have the courage to fight his corner with idiots rather than just deflect the blame to the media.

Dundee

Dundee FC beer festival pulls in the crowds

June 26 2017

Dundee FC held its first ever beer festival on Saturday in the Bobby Cox stand and in an adjoining marquee. The event allowed visitors to sample a range of craft beers, lagers, gins and cocktails. Entertainment was provided by a number of bands including Jive Candy, Paper Tiger and the Lawson Brothers. © DC ThomsonLynsey and Jackie Farnan enjoying the event.

Readers' letters

September 23: Name new Perth bridge after famous angler

September 23 2010

Today our correspondents suggest a name for a new bridge and discuss tax breaks for the computer game industry, green energy, religion and schools. Name new Perth bridge after famous angler Sir, One of your readers suggested that a bridge over the River Tay at Perth, intended for pedestrians and cyclists, was a waste of money. How very Scottish. The cost of £1.38 million appears a good investment given that Scotland is often seen as the sick man of Europe with high death rates from heart disease and strokes. Anything that enables us to improve our lifestyle by reducing the burden on our health services must be money well spent and the council should be applauded. As concerns a name for this landmark, might I suggest Ballantyne’s Bridge after Miss Georgina Ballantyne, who will forever be linked with the river having caught a Tay salmon in 1922 weighing 64lbs – a UK record for a salmon landed by rod and line. Kenneth G. N. Stewart.Landalla,Florence Place,Perth. Throwing good money after bad Sir, I am not sure if Steve Bargeton was being tongue-in-cheek in his recent diary column (September 18) but his opinion on the computer games industry was neatly juxtaposed with an article on the opposite page about the collapse of Dundee firm Realtime Worlds. Your political editor says that providing £40 million of tax breaks per year to the sector would provide the public purse with a net gain of £400 million in tax receipts and create 3500 graduate-level jobs and presumably solve world poverty and reverse global warming at the same time. If only life was that simple. The figures provided sound like typical industry/ political spiel. Meanwhile, back in the real(time) world, your other article quoted an industry expert as saying that the firm’s pivotal APB game attracted sales of only one ninth of that necessary for its survival. It seems unlikely that tax breaks would have somehow enhanced the game sufficiently to increase its sales nine-fold. As history has shown time and time again, throwing public funds at fundamentally uncompetitive products and businesses is just taxpayers’ money down the drain. Of course, taxpayer-funded assistance and a favourable regulatory environment can help industry in appropriate circumstances but the Scottish political mindset seems dominated by the need to find a deserving home for as much public money as possible – and there’s always a queue of willing recipients, whether in the private or public sector. And while the bills for the profligacy have to be paid eventually, both Labour and the SNP seem preoccupied with trying to deny their part in the spending spree, while the Tories and Lib Dems are being accused of threatening the economic recovery by being over-zealous in trying to turn off the tap. Stuart Winton.Hilltown,Dundee. Fantasy of green future Sir, The articles covering the views of the MSPs Jim Mather and Murdo Fraser on wind farms (September 20) are yet another reminder of the dangers of expanding onshore wind production in Scotland. Murdo Fraser is correct in pointing out the adverse effects on our landscape and hence tourism but the concept of visual amenity is subjective and personal. What is more objective and less arguable is the cost of installing the infrastructure and the vast amount of subsidies and incentives given to landowners and developers, relative to the amount of dependable electricity actually produced by wind turbines. Jim Mather and the Scottish Government have long known that wind farms are very poor sources of dependable power, frequently producing less than one per cent of UK supply. He and they also know that Scotland only produces around one-fifth of one per cent of the world’s carbon emission “problem.” As Energy Minister, Jim Mather owes us all an explanation of why he and his colleagues expect consumers to pay high prices to solve a “problem” that scarcely exists, using a system that scarcely works and at prices more and more people will scarcely be able to afford. It is time the fairy tale of wind power was ended. Ron Greer.Armoury House,Blair Atholl. Two-fronted attack on church Sir, Ian Wheeler asks if the threat of Islam is uniting Catholics and Protestants in the fight for survival (September 21). Let us hope so. Islam has powerful non-Muslim players in the field if you count the secular, the atheist and the left-liberal neo-Marxists, all with their own particular reasons for supporting Islam. The average British secularist disputes any religion but more so Christianity. The average militant atheist attacks the Christian God but, when challenged similarly to treat the Islamic God, refrains, claiming all religions are the same. The neo-Marxists are the most dangerous. Their liberal organisations support Islam in its anti-Christian and anti-capitalist stance which makes them useful in the fight to establish a “progressive” society. Andrew Lawson.9 MacLaren Gardens,Dundee. Educational poverty trap Sir, David Robertson’s suggestions that the way to improve school performance in Dundee is to have more religion in them is simplistic and laughable. He erroneously states that schools in Scotland which are not Catholic are Christian. Presumably he means Protestant. I have never come across a school in Scotland which describes itself as Protestant. They are non-denominational. The solution to the gap between the children living in poverty and those who are not is a redistribution of wealth. We do not need to scare children into obedience by telling them untruths about eternity in hell. Alan Hinnrichs.2 Gillespie Terrace,Dundee. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

Dundee

Speed limits set to be slashed across Dundee

June 3 2016

Dundee residents have just under four weeks left to have their say on proposals to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on hundreds of residential streets. The City Council launched one of its biggest-ever consultation exercises on the proposals last November. It would see speed limits cut to 20mph across large swathes of the city. Principal roads such as Perth Road, the Kingsway, Lochee Road and the A92 Tay Road Bridge would be unaffected. But hundreds of other streets could see the speed limits slashed if the council presses ahead with the plans, including Forth Crescent in Menzieshill and Buttar’s Loan. The consultation closes on June 30. The local authority will then analyse the responses before councillors are asked to vote on the changes. Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “This is one of the longest running and thorough consultation exercises that we have ever undertaken because we recognise the importance of the issues involved. “It is also clear from the informal feedback I’ve had that road safety and the volume and speed of traffic are hot topics in neighbourhoods throughout Dundee. “We want to hear what people have to say and take into account their opinions when we make decisions about the future of the roads network in Dundee, so I would strongly encourage everyone to visit our website to make their voices heard. “Anyone who wants to take part should go to www.dundeecity.gov.uk/20mphconsultation before June 30. There are already a number of 20mph streets in Dundee and in February the new, lower speed limits were also introduced in Mill o’ Mains, Harestane Road and the new Western Gateway housing development. Safety campaign groups such as the charity Brake have long advocated the introduction of lower speed limits and said it is “wholeheartedly” behind the City Council’s plans. A driver can bring a car travelling at 20mph to a halt in 12 metres compared to the 23 metres it takes travelling at 30mph. And if someone is hit by a car travelling at 20mph there it a 10% chance they will be killed, compared to a 50% chance if the car is moving at 30mph. Brake spokesman Dave Nichols said: “Everybody has the right to walk or cycle to school, to work, or around their local community without fear of being knocked down by fast traffic. “That’s why Brake works with communities across the country to help them achieve road safety improvements in their area, and we are wholeheartedly behind plans to introduce 20mph speed limits throughout Dundee. “Widespread 20mph limits are a proven way to reduce casualties, particularly among more vulnerable road users. “As part of the GO20 campaign, Brake is calling for the national urban default speed limit to be reduced to 20mph. “This would remove administrative and financial barriers for local authorities such as Dundee City Council, and end the current lottery whereby your postcode dictates whether you benefit or not.”

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