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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

“Despicable” handbag thief targets elderly woman in Perth

August 15 2016

Police in Perth are hunting a "despicable" thief who stole an elderly woman's handbag. The 73-year-old was outside the AK Bell Library in York Place at about 1.10pm on Sunday when a man approached and stole her bag. Detective Sergeant Marshall McKay said: “The woman was walking outside the library yesterday afternoon, when she was approached by a man who stole her handbag from her. The man then ran off in the direction of the car park at the corner of Leonard Street and County Place. “He is described as being in his early 20s, about 5ft 9in tall, of slim build. He had short dark hair, was clean shaven and was wearing a dark casual jacket, dark coloured trousers and shoes.” The woman was wearing a light brown jacket and a floral skirt, with white shoes. She was also carrying a black carrier bag. DS McKay added: "This is a despicable crime, targeting an older person in our community. "I appeal to anyone, who may have witnessed the incident, may have seen the man responsible or has information that may help, to come forward." Anyone with information should phone police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to check on elderly neighbours at Christmas

December 21 2015

People in Scotland are being urged to think of elderly relatives, friends and neighbours over the festive period. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the call as she visited the offices of Age Scotland in Edinburgh to meet staff and volunteers at Silver Line Scotland. The free 24-hour helpline, which provides information, friendship and advice to older people, often experiences an increase in calls over Christmas. Ms Sturgeon said: "We know that the number of older people in Scotland is growing and for many of us, they are our relatives, neighbours and friends. "It's important that we remember them throughout the year - even more so over the festive period. For many, it's a period of joy and family celebration, but for some it can be a time of loneliness. "I would urge people in Scotland to have a think about the older people around them and check in on them over the festive period and beyond. "It can be as simple as a having a quick cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, but to them it can make a huge difference. "The Silver Line Scotland helpline provides a fantastic service throughout the year providing information about services and befriending, not just over Christmas, and we owe a huge thanks to the staff and volunteers who are that caring voice for many older people." Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: "We're delighted to welcome the First Minister to Age Scotland and show her the great work that we do to ensure that no-one should have no-one at Christmas. "With 100,000 older Scots saying they feel lonely most or all of the time, it's great that Nicola Sturgeon is helping to highlight how we can fight that loneliness with one call to Silver Line Scotland."

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.


Nicola Sturgeon vows ‘better deal’ for Scotland’s elderly

April 11 2016

Financial health checks for older people and reforms of the winter fuel allowance are among the measures the SNP is proposing to deliver a "better, fairer deal" for senior citizens, Nicola Sturgeon has said. The First Minister and SNP leader insisted her party would be "committed to improving the lives of all our older people" if re-elected in May. She said financial check-ups would be brought in to maximise the incomes of elderly Scots, ensuring they are receiving all the cash to which they are entitled. She also announced that when welfare powers are devolved to Holyrood, the winter fuel allowance - tax free payments of between £100 and £300 made to the elderly to help with heating bills - would be paid earlier to almost 80,000 pensioners in rural areas who are not connected to mains gas or electricity. This would enable those in "off grid" homes to buy the fuel they need at a time of year when it is cheaper. In addition, the SNP is pledging to protect benefits such as free bus passes and free personal care for the elderly, and says it will help low-income pensioners by not increasing the basic rate of income tax - something planned by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Health spending will rise in real terms every year of the next parliament under an SNP Government, while the party is also promising to review family law to ensure children can maintain relationships with key family members, such as grandparents. Ms Sturgeon has been campaigning in Irvine, North Ayrshire, in the run up to the May 5 election - the first in which she is running to be First Minister. She said: "As a society we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our older people, who have not only worked hard and contributed to our economy but continue to make a valuable contribution to our families and communities, which is why the SNP has already done a lot for senior citizens. "And if I am re-elected as First Minister I will make sure that their needs are at the forefront of the next Scottish Parliament so that we deliver an even better, fairer deal for all our older people. "During tough financial times we will continue to protect the NHS with real-terms spending increases - ensuring more services are delivered in the community and more resources are dedicated to improving planned operations like hip or knee replacements. "We will continue to protect key social benefits such as the concessionary bus pass and free personal and nursing care and will build on these gains of devolution with the new powers coming to Scotland. "With the devolution of the winter fuel payment, after years of Westminster inaction, we can finally get a fairer deal for almost 80,000 'off-grid' pensioner households who face higher costs. "We'll also ensure that low-income pensioners are excluded from council tax reform and protect them from Labour's plans to hike the basic rate of income tax, which would hit the pockets of half a million older people in Scotland." "Giving both votes to the SNP to re-elect us will ensure a Scottish Government that is committed to improving the lives of all our older people."


The Courier Kindness Campaign: Reaching out the hand of kindness to tackle loneliness and isolation

November 13 2017

The Courier Community Kindness Campaign begins today. Aiming to tackle loneliness, we hope readers will help us extend the hand of friendship to those who most need it. Here at The Courier we believe no one, young or old, should feel lonely or isolated. That’s why we’re launching our second Courier Community Kindness Campaign today – and we want you to join in. Our Kindness Campaign last winter saw more than 500 wonderful Courier readers redeeming vouchers and reaching out to vulnerable members of society. This time, we want to double that figure and we need your help to do it. It’s really easy: all you have to do is cut out the coupon in today's paper for a free Courier, and the Spar voucher for a free 125g packet of their own brand tea bags, claim your free paper and tea bags, and then take them round to someone in your community you know is on their own. At the same time, you can take the opportunity to ask if they’re OK and if there’s anything you can do to give them a helping hand. It could be an elderly neighbour, someone recently bereaved, a person with disability who finds it hard to get out, a young mum struggling with a new baby, a war veteran or someone who has recently lost a beloved pet. A recent report by the Scottish Government reveals poignant real-life stories of older people suffering from extreme negative effects of social isolation and loneliness: the older people who go to their doctor each Monday because they have no one else for company, a woman so socially isolated she lived without power for months, and young people who can forget what it is like to be in the company of other young people. And yet sometimes all it takes is a knock at the door and a friendly face asking: “Are you OK?” to open the channels of communication and offer a social lifeline. Our four-week campaign, which will run every Monday between today and December 4, aims to combat these issues by helping to raise awareness of anyone in Courier Country who might be feeling lonely or isolated, for whatever reason. Morna O’May, head of service Scotland at Contact the Elderly, is right behind our campaign: “We are absolutely delighted The Courier has launched a campaign to promote kindness in the community,” she says. “It is a superb initiative to encourage people to make a difference with tea bags accompanying today’s paper. “Loneliness is a blight on society and it is more important than ever to proactively consider how we can tackle this mounting issue. Whatever the best avenue for individuals to break the cycle of isolation, the route is always kindness. “Our charity offers an invaluable lifeline of friendship to older people who live alone. Our monthly tea parties are beloved by our guests and volunteers throughout the region and to hear the difference they make month after month, year after year is incredibly heartening,” she continues. “Isolation is a huge issue but eradicating it can be very simple. Striking up a conversation, enjoying a cup of tea and being open to the idea of making new friends is the solution in many instances. Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s charity director, adds: “Most of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives. But loneliness and social isolation are a daily reality for far too many older Scots, especially those who have lost family members or have limited mobility. “Sadly, one in six people over 75 say they haven’t spoken to friends, relatives or neighbours in a week, while 40 per cent say that the TV or a pet is their main form of company. At this time of year, many of us are looking forward to spending the festive period with family and friends, but 40,000 older people in Scotland will spend Christmas Day alone,” he continues. “This not only impacts people’s enjoyment of life, but it also has a devastating impact on our mental and physical health. Loneliness is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and worse than obesity. It can exacerbate health conditions such as heart disease or cancer, and make people more vulnerable to dementia. “Something as simple as popping round to see a neighbour for a cup of tea and a blether can make a huge difference and really lift their day. I’d encourage everyone to get involved with the Courier Community Kindness Campaign, reach out to someone, and start to tackle social isolation in our community.” Men’s Sheds, a concept that originated in Australia, support the social, psychological and physical well-being of men. Derek Keiller, chair of Carse of Gowrie Men’s Shed and the Scottish Men’s Shed Association, says: “We are delighted to be associated with the Courier Kindness Campaign. “We applaud The Courier’s initiative of highlighting loneliness and depression and welcome this opportunity to work with them to enhance people’s lives. “Remember, a little kindness costs you next to nothing but it will mean a great deal to the recipient.” So make it your good deed to look out for someone and help brighten their day. You never know – this simple gesture might lead to a whole new valued friendship for both of you.