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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

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Victim’s blood found in ex-boyfriend’s flat

December 14 2016

Blood matching Montrose mum Kimberley MacKenzie's was found throughout her ex-boyfriend's flat, a jury has heard. Forensic biologist Jacqueline Sharp told Glasgow High Court a total of 45 blood spots were found at the Market Street property of murder accused Steven Jackson. Miss MacKenzie's blood was also found on one of his shoes. Ms Sharp said spots of blood were found on a sofa and armchair in the living room, as well as on a glass table and skirting board. More samples were taken from the hallway and bathroom. Asked by Advocate Depute Ashley Edwards if blood found at the bathroom door could have been caused by an injured person being carried into the room, Ms Sharp said: "Yes, that would be one explanation." Under cross examination by Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, she also accepted there could be "thousands" of reasons. Miss Sharp said that some of the blood found in the flat had been diluted or smeared as if the area had been washed or cleaned. Jackson, 40, and co-accused Michelle Higgins 29, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie. They face further allegations that they disposed of Miss MacKenzie's body parts in bins and cleaned the flat and bath with bleach and caustic soda. The court has heard the 37-year-old died at the flat in October, last year. Forensic scientist Barry Mitchell said traces of DNA matching Jackson were found on the handle of the suitcase which held Miss MacKenzie's severed head and thighs. Traces of Miss MacKenzie's blood were also found on one of Jackson's shoes. Mr Mitchell said the chances of the blood being anyone else's were one in more than a billion. The court heard more of Miss MacKenzie's blood was found on Higgins' mobile phone, underneath its outer casing. DNA and blood matching Miss MacKenzie were also found on a claw hammer found in Jackson's living room. The jury was also told Jackson had texted Miss MacKenzie on October 17 — 10 days before she died. He wrote: "I'm with Mishy now and it would be easier if you stop coming. Please. I really want to make a go of it with her." Miss MacKenzie replied: "Yeah, no probs. I'm sorry I've made things difficult 4 u. What happens when you get gear again. Will still sell me? x" Dr Robert Cumming, who examined Higgins while she was in police custody, told the court she had the initials SJ "carved" on her leg. The trial before Lady Rae continues.

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.

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.

Dundee

Dundee band’s cine film mystery solved following appeal in The Courier

May 24 2018

The mystery behind a cine film that is being used by a Dundee band to promote a track from their forthcoming new album has been solved thanks to a recent appeal for information in The Courier. Spare Snare re-edited the 8mm film featuring Dundee and the Tay Road Bridge in 1966, Craigtoun Park near St Andrews and Southend-on-Sea, to fit the melancholy track Grow from the new album Sounds which is due for release on Chute Records in July. Now a relative of one of the families featured in the footage has come forward with details after Spare Snare lead singer Jan Burnett sought The Courier’s help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q8NcO6qd_A Retired local government worker Linda Gellatly, 62, saw the recent article in The Courier and recognised two of those in the film as her late aunt Frances and uncle Doug – and then realised she was in the film herself. She said: “I only know the people having a party at the end of the film. I do not recognise anyone else. “The party is held in my aunt Betty and uncle Alex's house in Harestane Road Dundee. “I stayed next door with my mum and dad, Rita and Bob Brown and my gran Maggie Barnes stayed up the road. “Frances and Doug stayed around the corner in Newton Road. “The Barnes family were Maggie Barnes, her son Doug and daughters Betty and Rita. “My cousin Margaret (Frances and Doug's daughter) is also in the film. “My gran's cousin Willie McKenzie is also there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZhUnBzTS_4 “I'm the youngest in the film. I think I may be around 10/11 so that film would be around 1965/66.” Spare Snare musician Adam Lockhart, who runs the Media Preservation Lab at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee explained that the films (super 8 and standard 8) were handed into the art college a number of years ago by persons unknown. They had been lying around in the photography department for a long time, until a student became interested in them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyZbb2r1ok4 The student came to him to ask if he could use the films for an art project, so Adam had them all digitally scanned. In the end the student didn’t use them so he decided to make the Spare Snare video with them. He added: “The reels were marked as being owned by a William (Willie) MacKenzie, who was a friend of Linda Gellatly’s family. He appears in the party scene at the end. “Linda said that he never married, so perhaps he didn’t have anyone to leave the films to, so when he died someone maybe handed the films into DJCAD?”

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. 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.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Head found in suitcase

December 8 2016

The severed head of a missing mother-of-three was found inside a suitcase at an empty flat in Montrose, a murder trial has heard. The head was wrapped in two bin liners and tied up with a necklace. Police forced their way into the property at William Phillips Drive and found the suitcase and a pink rucksack hidden inside a shower unit. The grim discovery was made on November 5, last year - just days after Kimberley MacKenzie was reported missing. Steven Jackson, 40, and Michelle Higgins, 28, deny murdering Miss McKenzie and cutting up her body. The pair are further accused of disposing of body parts in bins around the town. Jurors heard that Higgins was found with a key to the William Phillips Drive property when she was detained by police In Aberdeen. Detective Constable Victor Whyte told the court that the suitcase and rucksack were taken from the flat to Dundee mortuary for examination. He said they were carefully opened by scientists, biologists and forensic officers. Mr Whyte said that inside the suitcase was Miss MacKenzie's head and two thighs. Jurors were shown pictures of the black bags found inside the case. The bag containing the head was knotted and had a necklace looped around the end, Mr Whyte said. Inside the pink rucksack was more bags containing Miss MacKenzie's left knee and lower leg and her left arm and hand. Lady Rae warned jurors and members of the public before showing a photograph of a hand inside a thin plastic bag. Another image showed blood stains and damage to the rucksack. Murray Pete, a mark enhancement recovery officer for the Scottish Police Authority, said that a fingerprint was found under the knot on the back which contained the head. He said further prints were found on a Skean Dhu dagger, which was recovered by police from behind a box in Jackson's living room. More fingerprints were found on a steam cleaner at the property. The trial heard that Higgins was detained by police in Aberdeen on November 6, the day after the body parts were discovered. Detective Constable Kim Duncan, 31, said that her colleagues had traced Higgins, and her boyfriend David Melville, to Market Street in the city centre. As she sat in the back of the car, Higgins burst into tears. She told DC Duncan she understood why she was being detained. "It's that lassie Kim," she said. "It's common knowledge that she had been murdered." Higgins went on tell how Jackson had been Miss MacKenzie's boyfriend and that she herself had also been in a relationship with Jackson for about three weeks. Higgins said she had gathered her belongings and left Jackson's house days earlier, when he was spending a weekend in the cells. She added: "It happened on Monday." DC Duncan said: "I didn't know what she was referring to and I didn't ask her about it." But when questioned about what she said to DC Duncan during a police interview, she said: "I never said it happened on Monday. I never said he murdered anybody on Monday."   Accused: "It's the end of the world" After he was detained by police, Steven Jackson told an officer: "It's the end of the world." Police Inspector David Small, 40, said he visited Jackson in his cell on November 5. The court heard that Jackson had voluntarily attended at the police station in Montrose in the early hours of that morning. He was later moved to a custody suite in Dundee. Insp Small said he was called in to process an application to extend Jackson's detention from 12 to 24 hours. Mr Small said that he had been told Jackson was unfit for interview "due to episodes of psychosis." He was told this may have been "alcohol induced." Asked if he wanted to respond to the time extension, Jackson replied: "It's the end of the world." The trial also heard that Higgins was given a medical examination prior to her police interview. Under cross examination by Mark Stewart QC - representing Higgins - Detective Constable Nicola Annan said she was present during the check and noticed an injury on Higgin's body, possibly the left thigh. "She had SJ scratched into her skin," she said.   The trial continues.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Michelle Higgins denies hammer attack

December 20 2016

Murder accused Michelle Higgins told a policeman she attacked a woman with a hammer, a jury has heard. The 29-year-old who is on trial for the murder of Montrose woman Kimberley MacKenzie said she could not remember making the comment during a cigarette break at Dundee police station. Higgins and co-accused Steven Jackson, 40, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie at Jackson's flat in Market Street, Montrose. The pair are further accused of disposing of her body parts in bins and bags around the town. On Monday, Higgins was questioned about her account of Miss MacKenzie's death. She told Glasgow High Court on Friday that Jackson had attacked her with a hammer, before repeatedly stabbing her with a skean dhu dagger. She accepted that she "didn't raise a finger" to help Miss MacKenzie and that she helped dispose of her body but she insisted she did nothing to harm her or dismember her. Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, asked Higgins if she remembered talking to Detective Constable Ian Ross at Dundee police station's custody suite. Mr Findlay said DC Ross, 56, made a statement, claiming that Higgins had told him: "I hit her on the legs." When he asked what she hit her with, Higgins replied: "With a hammer." However, Higgins told the court she had "no memory at all" of the exchange. She said she was in a "drugs induced psychosis" at the time. Higgins, who was diagnosed with a bipolar condition, said she was a "completely different person" at the time of Miss MacKenzie's death. She told the court that she had had a "large" heroin habit which cost her up to £80 a day. Mr Findlay accused her of giving jurors a "presentation" of evidence. "It was a performance, wasn't it?" he asked. Higgins replied: "A performance in a court room? Hardly." The court heard that Higgins and Jackson went out into Montrose town centre, hand in hand, while Miss MacKenzie's body lay in Jackson's living room. Higgins was also accused of showing no emotion as she told how her friend was killed. "When your mother gave evidence and looked at a photo of her granddaughter's rucksack, knowing it had been used by her daughter to hide body parts, she was distraught," said Mr Findlay. "You didn't show one hint of emotion when you gave your evidence," he told Higgins. She said: "Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a violent person. I've done plenty of bad things, but I wouldn't murder someone." Asked by advocate depute Ashley Edwards QC why she appeared to go out "shopping" with Jackson after Miss MacKenzie's murder, Higgins said: "I was just being like an obedient puppy and just doing as Steven wanted. It's stupid, I know." Higgins was quizzed about a text message exchange with Jackson on October 28, the day after Miss MacKenzie died. Jackson wrote: "I need help got some bits chopped offxx". Higgins replied: "Mink LOL". "LOL? This was someone who was meant to be your friend," said Ms Edwards. "Does this give an insight into you thinking at the time?" Higgins said: "I don't know, I was just going along with him." The trial continues.

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