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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...

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.

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

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

Perth & Kinross

Cosby’s given chance to cast off reputation for selling alcohol to under-agers

July 18 2014

A Perth alcohol retailer has been given a second chance after telling councillors it wanted to shed its previous reputation of selling to under-age drinkers. Cosby’s had its licence to deliver alcohol suspended last year after a 16-year-old was able to buy alcohol over the phone and gave it to a 14-year-old. Police representatives objected to the resumption of the delivery service but Sharanjut Bookher was able to convince Perth and Kinross Council’s licensing committee that strict new checks would be put in place to prevent a repeat of the incident. He said the firm wanted to move away from selling cheap alcohol in high volumes and focus on more niche markets such as micro-brewery beers and high-end spirits. Bruce Kerr, of Police Scotland, urged councillors to refuse the application. He said: “It was discovered that it was common knowledge and accepted in the area that alcohol could be acquired by telephoning Cosby’s and identification would never be asked for. “Since the implication of conditions, the premises has not come to the attention of police.” Mr Bookher, who took over the running of the Crieff Road business after the incident, said in future new customers would have to register with the company before being able to order over the phone. He said all bottles would be marked with ultraviolet pen to allow them to be traced and checked against a register of sales and that all deliveries would be made by himself. “We are trying to get rid of the reputation which the business has had for 20 years,” he said. “I have people coming in and saying that when they were 15 they would come to get cheap alcohol. “We are trying to move away from cheap, high volume alcohol.” Councillors voted three in favour of rejecting the application and three in favour of approving subject to conditions, leaving convener Henry Anderson to cast the deciding vote. He said that despite reservations he would approve the application.

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. 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.


Alcoholic liver disease affecting under-30s

December 18 2013

People as young as 24 are being diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease in Scotland. Across Tayside, Fife and the Forth Valley more than 60 people under the age of 30 have been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease since 2008. The figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show Scotland is still struggling to shake off its “sick man of Europe” tag. Only Hungary has a higher rate of deaths caused by alcoholic liver disease than Scotland. Vered Hopkins, lead officer with the Dundee Alcohol and Drug Partnership, said: “The key issue is the culture towards alcohol. People forget it is a strong drug with serious consequences if overdone. “Drinking in moderation is a good thing and we would like to encourage that. However, there is a real issue in that people who drink tend not to do it in moderation.” Ms Hopkins said the Scottish Government’s planned minimum pricing for alcohol will reduce the toll it takes on the population but it is not a solution in itself. She also warned that people who drink at home rather than in pubs and clubs may be more likely to drink to excess as they will underestimate measures. “The statistics are very worrying but it’s not just younger people drinking too much, it’s everyone,” she said. A report by the Office for National Statistics, published on Tuesday, showed people aged 16 to 24 are most likely to drink to excess, with 27% admitting to consuming more than 12 units (men) and nine units (women) at least once a week. For men, binge drinking is consuming more than eight units while for women it is just six. In Scotland, mortality rates for chronic liver disease peaked in 2003 and have been declining since. However, they remain almost 60% higher than they were 30 years ago and 70% higher than the UK average. Scottish public health minister Michael Matheson said: “The death and suffering caused by chronic liver disease is far too high and much of the blame lies with our relationship to alcohol. “Cheap alcohol comes at a cost to our nation’s health and we need to reduce the toll alcohol is taking on our society. “It is unacceptable to see that Scotland ranks amongst the worst countries in Europe for chronic liver disease. “Alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion per year. That’s £900 per adult that could be put to better use.”


Shopkeepers hit back at ‘immoral’ alcohol sales comments

December 23 2011

Dundee's small off-licences have hit back at comments made by an MSP that they are ''immoral'' for selling cheap alcohol. The SNP's Mark McDonald, who represents North East Scotland, told the Scottish Grocers' Federation their members were wrong to sell cheap alcohol, branding them ''morally questionable.'' But two of Dundee's struggling shopkeepers hit back angrily at his claims, questioning his agenda and accusing supermarkets and big business of trying to destroy corner shops. Faisal Masood of the Liquor Warehouse in Provost Road said: ''How can this man say we are selling stuff too cheaply? We are really struggling, how can we compete when we are surrounded by three supermarkets?'' ''We have Tesco on one side, Morrisons down the road and Asda at the other side, plus there is the smaller supermarkets nearby like Lidl as well. They are all cheaper than we are, and our big bottles of cider are price marked, so we can't cut the prices on them.'' Mr Masood pointed out that while he has to charge £20.99 for a bottle of Jack Daniels, supermarkets can charge up to five pounds less for the same items. ''We get our stocks mainly from the cash and carry and sometimes we are charged more than the supermarkets are selling it for. ''Mostly I make about 30p profit on a bottle of vodka or whisky. And I often go to Tesco and buy stuff there because it is cheaper than the cash and carry.'' Mr Masood's comments were echoed by Mohammed Saleem of the Party Discount store in Strathmore Avenue, who says shops like his are increasingly struggling to make ends meet. ''At the moment you can buy 12 bottles of Miller for £6 at the supermarket, that's 50p a bottle, which is 20p cheaper than a can of coke,'' he said. ''That's only one example but I can give you hundreds of other examples. ''Small businesses are getting blamed but it's not us. Nobody can stop the supermarkets, there's nothing we can do and comments like Mr McDonald's are just stupid. ''This man is saying this and they are trying to kill the small business. What he is saying is a nonsense, why don't they look at what the supermarkets are doing? ''They are trying to get rid of corner shops by charging low prices but when they are gone they will just charge much higher. ''This year is not so busy and we are struggling more than ever before. Everybody is going to the big supermarkets and buying their spirits and beer much cheaper.'' Mr McDonald questioned why some small retailers stocked ''dirt cheap cider'' but Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive John Drummond answered by saying many of his members were responsible retailers who had taken the decision not to stock that type of alcohol to steer clear of accusations of anti-social behaviour. The exchange came during evidence to the Scottish Parliament's finance committee on the SNP Government's plans to impose a minimum price on alcohol.

Readers' letters

READERS’ LETTERS: A pioneering strategy deserving of cheers

May 9 2018

Sir, – I have rarely seen in your columns a letter so steeped in ignorance as that from Chris Sutherland (May 4) criticising minimum pricing for alcohol. I would suggest he familiarises himself with some life stories of those whose lives have been blighted by alcohol, whether drinkers, former drinkers, families or friends. Alcohol contributes significantly to crime, domestic violence, dysfunctional families, broken homes and relationships, homelessness and destitution, bankruptcies, significant mental health issues and suicide, as well as the commonly reported stresses and strains on our NHS. Alcoholism has long been recognised as an addictive illness yet treatment is considerably under-resourced with privately funded rehabilitation generally well outside the resources of the majority of sufferers of this potentially fatal disease. Mr Sutherland also demonstrates a strange class arrogance by claiming the introduction of minimum pricing is laced with hypocrisy, with middle-class health professionals trying to save the working class from their own self-destructive tendencies. Alcohol misuse is by no means the prerogative of the working class but the availability of cheap booze is a recognised route for many people into alcohol abuse, crime and violence. It is morally reprehensible and unacceptable that supermarkets should be allowed to continue to offer low-priced alcohol knowing it has the potential to cause so much physical and mental damage. Contrary to Mr Sutherland’s views, the Scottish Government should be congratulated on a pioneering strategy. M Duncan. West Huntingtower, Perth.   Twenty is not always plenty Sir, – I refer to the plan by Mark Ruskell MSP to roll out 20mph speed limits in residential areas throughout Scotland. An obvious question, is how will such limits be enforced when Holyrood has presided over continuing cuts to local policing in favour of centralisation of services? He takes his idea from the Fife Council practice of erecting 20mph signs in towns and villages and seems to advocate a voluntary code of adherence. I can tell your readers, since I live and drive in Fife, that such adherence is patchy at best, and ignored by drivers who see little point in reverting to horse and cart speeds when modern vehicles have much enhanced braking systems. A further question is, if we have 20mph limits, why do we also need speed bumps, such as those in the village of Largoward? I could agree with such constructions in the immediate area of the village school, but in this case the bumps are throughout the village main road and, of course, are ignored by HGV, high-clearance vans and 4x4 vehicles that are comfortably able to drive over them at 20-30mph. Instead of holding up Fife Council as a shining example of road and traffic management, Mr Ruskell might be better employed in persuading the authority to improve the dire state of Fife’s road surfaces, which by themselves are a traffic-calming measure because of potholes, flooding and lack of proper surveillance of road works carried out by utility companies whose contractors regularly bodge the restoration of road surfaces. Derek Farmer. Knightsward Farm, Anstruther.   Green light for reasonable view Sir, – I read Jenny Hjul’s column every week, hoping that, if I persist, I might find something with which I agree: but to no avail. So it was with this week’s missive, in which she attacks Green MSP Mark Ruskell for being, well... green. After berating him for the eminently sensible proposal that speed limits in built up areas should be reduced, she suggests “his priority is the planet, not the people who live on it”. If we don’t prioritise the welfare of the only planet we have, we really will be heading for catastrophe. She goes on to complain that the Green Party “with just six out of Holyrood’s 129 MSPs...holds undue sway over policy because of its willingness to prop up the minority SNP government”. She conveniently forgets the DUP, with 10 out of 650 MPs, holds her beloved Tory government in Westminster to ransom, bribed with £1 billion of taxpayers’ money. She goes on to lambast him for wanting a small tax rise for the better off, to be spent on public services, as opposed to the UK Government who favour tax reductions, but only for the very rich. She accuses him of being a “fan of land redistribution”, as if this were unreasonable in a country where 50% of the land is owned by fewer than 500 people. And she is unhappy about his views on “a citizens wage”, which is indeed untested but given the many challenges ahead, surely we need consider radical measures. She concludes by suggesting Mr Ruskell is “the most extreme green”. He seems perfectly reasonable to me. I would suggest that, in modern Scotland, Ms Hjul’s views are the ones which are out of line. Nevertheless, I will look forward to her next column, ever hopeful. Les Mackay. Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.   Tories own issues on race Sir, – The Conservative Party and its supporters are loud in attacking the Labour Party for the occasional wrong judgement and slowness of internal procedures in investigating allegations of anti-Semitism. So it’s interesting to see how the Conservative Party deals with the racist element inside its ranks. When London Tories tried in vain to prevent the election of Labour’s statesmanlike London Mayor Sadiq Khan, they ran a campaign soaked in racism and anti-Muslim prejudice. In Brighton this month, Tories ran a council candidate who had written an article claiming Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech was correct. And in Lancashire when a Conservative councillor in Pendle retweeted comments portraying Asian people as dogs, she was merely suspended for three months and then reinstated, turning up at the vote count of local elections this month wearing a blue rosette. That allowed the Conservatives the majority of one needed to take control of Pendle Council, and the chairman of the party nationally tweeted that it was victory for a great team. It’s no coincidence that this happened in the party of a Prime Minister who refused to take action when a Caribbean man who came to Britain in 1974 to join his mother, an NHS nurse, was told he would not get radiotherapy for his prostate cancer unless he paid £54,000. Or that they then held a vote in the House of Commons allowing them to cover up documents showing Theresa May’s role in the unfair treatment of Windrush generation immigrants. Phil Tate. Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh.   Optimism from a dinosaur Sir, – As a member of the “order of ancient dinosaurs” I feel that the once upon a time known world is fast disappearing. Today’s state of the art communications and computing technology, with ever more people spending much of their time staring at screens, seems most peculiar. Effective person-to-person communication has, unfortunately, become a thing of the past with, it would appear, mainly negative results. While endeavouring to remain optimistic, an outlook which may now originate from “Another World”, we trust and hope the future turns out well. Kenneth Miln. Union Street, Monifieth.   Dunkirk facts remain unclear Sir, – The recent film on Dunkirk rightly pays tribute to the many small craft and their crews, who so greatly assisted the evacuation, but it leaves out most of the inconvenient facts. Dunkirk was a disaster on an unimaginable scale. Yes, 338,226 troops were evacuated, two thirds of them British. But they had been sent to fight the Germans and instead they abandoned 472 guns, 63,879 vehicles and an incredible 76,097 tons of ammunition. Even Churchill was obliged to state that it was far from a victory but a defeat. What I found even more disappointing in the film was there was not so much as a “PS”, pointing out that for 10 days after the evacuation was completed, the Highland Division, alone and deserted, continued to fight the might of Rommel and his Panzers, but I suppose that truth doesn’t fit so well with the myth. Joseph G Miller. Gardeners Street, Dunfermline.