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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...

Rugby

Connacht 14 Glasgow 7: Puafisi’s red card means it’s back to Galway for Warriors

May 7 2016

Sila Puafisi's mindless head charge brought an automatic red card and cost Glasgow their home semi-final chance as they went down in Galway in their final Guinness PRO12 regular season game. The prop lost his head early in the second half just as Glasgow appeared to be on their way back into the game they needed to win to play the semi-final in two weeks at Scotstoun. Instead, they'll have to return to Galway to face Connacht, who used the man advantage for Tiernan O'Halloran's winning try with twenty minutes left. Gordon Reid's try had tied the score just seven minutes into the second half and with the wind and rain in their favour the Warriors looked well set to go on and win a tight and physical game. Instead their Tongan tight-head went through home scrum-half Keiran Marmion at a ruck and it was an obvious red card when referee Ian Davies and the TMO watched it back. Ten minutes later O'Halloran scored Connacht's second try and the home side held out despite intense pressure from the depleted Warriors in the last 20 minutes. Playing into the usual strong wind and rain off Galway Bay, Glasgow owned the first 15 minutes but failed to take advantage, in stark contrast to their hosts when they got a chance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAE_7Dp4SfM Two big breaks by Leone Nakarawa got in behind Connacht’s smothering rush defence in the first 10 minutes, but Finn Russell missed a penalty chance after the first and Gordon Reid couldn’t hold his stand-off’s pass at the second deep in the Connacht 22. The loss of Alex Dunbar to injury was a blow to the Warriors, but not as big as Connacht’s first attack on 18 minutes, after Stuart Hogg was caught holding on at a counterattack run. Connacht kicked the line and drove the lineout, but then suddenly moved it sharply for Aki, an injury doubt during the week, to bash over at the posts, MacGinty converting. That signalled a real change in momentum and when Russell missed a simple penalty made tough into the swirling wind, Glasgow were somewhat fortunate to stay just 7-0 down at the break. Former Warrior Aly Muldowney knocked on at close range after another charge by Aki and then scrum-half Marmion broke through only to take the wrong option with the Glasgow defence creaking. Connacht’s defence was outstanding, pushing the Warriors metres back in contact, but the champions reached the half without any further damage. With the elements in their favour, Glasgow’s reponse was almost immediate, turning down a kickable penalty, driving a lineout, and Reid sneaking around a ruck to dive over. Russell converted and momentum had shifted in the Warriors’ favour. But no sooner were they back level than Puafisi’s brainstorm proved crucial, first giving away a needless penalty with a shoulder charge and then leading with the head into Marmion at the next ruck, a red card being the only decision open to referee Davies. Glasgow defended furiously a man down from repeated forward drives a man down for ten full minutes but replacement Shane O’Leary’s cross kick allowed O’Halloran to leap over Hogg and score, the stand-off adding the conversion. Glasgow battled manfully for the try that would equalise the scores and get the draw then needed, but Connacht managed to smother their efforts and secure the home draw in two weeks. Connacht: T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, R Henshaw, B Aki (P Robb 74), M Healy; A J MacGinty (S O’Leary 54), K Marmion (J Cooney 66); R Loughney (D Heffernan 56), T McCartney, F Bealham (R Ah You 3); U Dillane, A Muldowney; S O’Brien (E McKeon 62), J Heenan, J Muldoon (capt). Glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, A Dunbar (M Bennett 13), P Horne, L Jones (S Lamont 56); F Russell, A Price (G Hart 70); G Reid (J Yanuyanutawa 56), F Brown (P MacArthur 57), S Puafisi; L Nakarawa (T Swinson 78), J Gray (capt); R Harley (Z Fagerson 55), R Wilson (S Favaro 64), J Strauss. Ref: I Davies (WRU)

Rugby

Edinburgh 19 Connacht 22: More agony for Edinburgh as another comeback falls short

April 7 2017

Edinburgh once again fell just short with a furious comeback but plunged to an eighth successive defeat, losing to Guinness PRO12 champions Connacht at Myreside last night. Down 22-0 with less than 20 minutes remaining having gifted their opponents much of their points, the capital side scored three quickfire tries to get within reach but were unable to overhaul  the Irish side in the dying minutes. Hamish Watson was again a huge hero for the home side but it was another game lost that could or should have been won, and Edinburgh have yet to win in the league in 2017 or since they moved to Myreside. The home side suffered a blow by losing Cornell du Preez before kick off but once again it was their own basic errors that had them struggling. Early promise came to naught with Weir missing an easy penalty touch and then the stand-off missed a routine penalty chance. Inevitably on Connacht’s first attack they won a penalty and stand-off Steve Crosbie kicked them ahead, while Edinburgh’s response with a fine driving maul ended abruptly when Weir carelessly fumbled a simple pass. The home side then suffered two huge blows when Crosbie booted a penalty from near halfway to double is side’s lead, and on the half hour Connacht’s first foray into the Edinburgh 22 saw Marmion snipe around the fringes and send Eoin McKeon cantering through a huge gap untouched to score under the posts, Crosbie converting. Edinburgh’s woes deepened when Weir missed another simple penalty chance and Crosbie was on target with a third penalty kick for an easy 16-0 half-time lead. The home side finally got Rory Scholes away on a weaving run at the start of the second half but Bundee Aki hauled him down and won a turnover to end the danger, and Crosbie kept the pressure on with two more penalties to take Connacht out to 22-0 ahead. Edinburgh at least got on the scoreboard via a penalty try, O’Halloran coming off the line too quick to stop a two man overlap after Damien Hoyland had made good ground and referee Dan Jones going between the posts after checking with the TMO and being satisfied a try would have been scored. The full-back was yellow carded as Weir converted and suddenly Edinburgh had a lift, scoring a second try within three minutes as the indefatigable Watson spun out of tackles close to the line and got the touch down under the posts, Weir again converting. Connacht tried to run out some clock while down a man but Edinburgh were suddenly flying and Watson’s elusiveness again set up the chance for Glenn Bryce to get the third try with six minutes remaining, although Weir missed the conversion. That left Edinburgh needing a fourth try to win but they were unable to win field position and another fumble in midfield eventually brought Connacht relief. Edinburgh: G Bryce; D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, R Scholes; D Weir, N Fowles; M McCallum, R Ford (Capt), S Berghan; F McKenzie, B Toolis; V Mata, H Watson, V Fihaki. Replacements: S McInally for Ford 53, K Bryce for Berghan 71, G Gilchrist for McKenzie 60, J Ritchie for Mata 69, S Hidalgo-Clyne for Fowles 66, T Brown for Scholes 69, J Rasolea for Burliegh 60. Connacht: T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, E Griffin, B Aki, D Poolman; S Crosbie, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, D Robertson-McCoy; Q Roux, A Browne; E McKeon, J Heenan, J Muldoon (capt). Replacements: S Delahunt for McCartney 51, JP Cooney for Buckley 69, F Bealham for Robertson-McCoy 42, J Cannon for Roux 65, S O’Brien for Muldoon 65, C Blade for Marmion 60, J Carty for Crosbie 63 Ref: D Jones (WRU)

Rugby

PRO12 champions Connacht much more than your average underdogs

May 30 2016

It must be the year of the unlikely underdog: Connacht beating Leinster 20-10 to win the Guinness PRO12 final at BT Murrayfield is just like Leicester City winning the Premiership. Except it’s not. Leicester aren’t customarily stripped of their best players by their three neighbouring teams. For all their financial disadvantages to the big guns, Leicester aren’t held to a budget tiny in comparison to their rivals and semi-officially described as a “development” team. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHMQC4CmKc8 Leicester have never been about to be wound up by their parent association, a fate that awaited Connacht only three or four years ago as the IRFU were poised to split even their meagre resources between Leinster, Ulster and Munster. The two teams from different codes don’t even begin to compare. The west Irish province’s rise is similar to Leicester is only similar in the swiftness of their journey from also-rans to champions and the influence of an innovative foreign coach who has absolutely maximised his tiny resources. It’s the former Samoan captain – and briefly Scotland forwards coach – Pat Lam who has transformed Connacht from the whipping boys of the Celtic League into a champion team that unquestionably deserved the title. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3Quf_vSe18 Lam was probably the least impressed man inside Murrayfield as his team dismantled the three-time European champions – and unquestionably the favoured team of the establishment that has held Connacht down for so many years – by three tries to one. “Of course we can,” he said dismissively to the question of whether Connacht could repeat as champions. One can only imagine the feelings of the long-time and loyal staff of the province, who followed Connacht for years around the circuit and saw their underfunded team habitually thrashed week after week by 40 points or more. But we don’t have to imagine, because one of them who suffered through those years was still in the team and Saturday’s man of the match, skipper John Muldoon. “My heart rate is still up there,” said the true warrior in green in the aftermath of a game his team ultimately won with some comfort after a 15-0 first half blitz. “It’s absolutely phenomenal. You dream of days like this but it definitely won’t sink in for a while.” There were symbolic elements all about Connacht all over the stadium. Every neutral in the stadium (and there were a fair few in the record 34,500 crowd; so much for Murrayfield being a bad choice for the final) was on their side, and there was more green on show since Celtic played a European game there. There are still elements of the old ways around; Robbie Henshaw, the Connacht and Ireland centre, was playing his last game for his native province before his move to, you guessed it, Leinster. The favourites’ try, when it eventually came, was scored by Sean Cronin, who was Connacht’s hooker for a decade before he was plucked for the Dubliners. There was one short spell of doubt for Connacht, after their first half blitz and super tries from Tiernan O’Halloran and Niyi Adeolokun, was followed by Matt Healy’s try in the second half. The inevitable rush of replacements illustrated their weakness and Leinster’s remaining strength, but the defensive wall that kept Glasgow at bay in two games in the past month just about held. Leinster were listless throughout, a massive hit on their main man Jonny Sexton by the PRO12’s player of the year, Bundee Aki, setting the tone. The star of the Lions stand-off seems to be falling fast as he grows increasingly irate on the pitch when things don’t go his way. What lessons for the Scots PRO12 teams? Glasgow know that if they had stayed with 15 men in their first visit to Galway earlier this month they probably would have won that game and had possibly decisive home advantage for the semi-final. Don't doubt, however, that the better team reached the final; the scoreline in the semi that was eventually played at the Sportsgrounds flattered the Warriors. The lessons are starker for Edinburgh. Connacht’s triumph is even more admirable for the way they play the game, running as much as possible, seeking to be positive with the ball as well as destructive without it. It took just three years for Lam’s philosophy to manifest itself with this club despite scant resources; the same time as Alan Solomons has had at Edinburgh to be no better than eighth in the league.

Rugby

Connacht 16 Glasgow 11: Injury-plagued Warriors surrender PRO12 crown in Galway

May 21 2016

Glasgow’s reign as Guinness PRO12 champions came to an end in Galway as Connacht deservedly won a brutal contest to reach next week’s final at BT Murrayfield. The Warriors suffered a series of injury blows including the loss of two key players in the first minute, but no-one could deny that the West Irish province deserved the win. They had two tries chalked off for marginal knock-ons and quite how the Warriors escaped without a yellow card as they gave up a flood of penalties only referee Marius Mitrea will know, but they eventually progressed to the all-Irish final against Leinster next week. The Warriors were on the back foot from the minute Finn Russell and Zander Fagerson collided in the opening minute, Russell being taken to hospital with a facial injury that may put him out of the Scotland tour to Japan. The champions had defended stoutly in the first half only to give up a try to wing Niyi Adeolokun two minutes from the break, and although Leone Nakarawa got them back in the game early in the second half they were unable to gain territory into the strong wind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJYHbhGOcYc The crippling penalty count against them didn’t help either, as Glasgow’s discipline let them down again. Connacht’s Bundee Aki had proved a handful in the game two weeks ago and his first touch brought a crippling blow for Glasgow inside the first minute. Russell and Fagerson collided head to head as they tried to bring down the centre, the stand-off going off via a stretcher and to hospital. The young prop stayed off as well, Duncan Weir and D’Arcy Rae coming on. The reorganisation took time and Glasgow spent the next ten minutes giving up penalties but successfully resisting Connacht attacks with some determined defence. The Warriors had a rare attacking chance with a five metre lineout but Fraser Brown’s throw missed its mark and Connacht cleared. Glasgow were then fortunate when flanker McKeon finished a sweeping move only for referee Marius Mitrea to bring it all the way back for a knock-on by Aki at the start of the move on halfway. The teams swapped penalties through AJ MacGinty and Weir but three minutes from half-time Glasgow’s defence broke down when Aki’s neat grubber got in behind their rush defence. Hogg couldn’t get there before Adeolokun and the Nigerian wing shrugged off a tackle from Weir to go in under the posts, MacGinty converting. Glasgow nearly hit back on the stroke of half-time but Leone Nakarawa was held up under the posts as he tried to touch down. However the big lock brought his side back in the game with a thrilling run from a trick lineout early in the second half, the Fijian coming back after several phrases to score an unconverted try. MacGinty and Weir swapped penalties again before Glasgow were lucky to not see a yellow card and then still escape during a period of intense pressure with only a further penalty from the Connacht stand-off. There was more good fortune for Glasgow as a second Adeolokun try was pulled back by the TMO for a marginal accidental offside in midfield, and then Rodney Ah You was yellow carded for a high tackle on Stuart Hogg. However Glasgow had to go the length of the field against Connacht’s tenacious defence and couldn’t get beyond halfway in the dying minutes. Glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, M Bennett, P Horne (T Naiyaravoro 60), S Lamont; F Russell (D Weir 1), H Pyrgos (G Hart 71); G Reid, F Brown (P MacArthur 60), Z Fagerson (D Rae 1 (R Grant 60)); L Nakarawa, J Gray (capt); R Wilson, S Favaro (A Ashe 28), J Strauss (T Swinson 67). Connacht: T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, R Henshaw, B Aki (P Robb 72), M Healy; A MacGinty, K Marmion (J Cooney 60); R Loughney, R McCartney, F Bealham (R Ah You 64); U Dillane (A Brown 61), A Muldowney; E McKeon (S O’Brien 61), J Heenan, J Muldoon. Ref: M Mitrea (FIR)

Rugby

Warriors need to regroup after surrendering PRO12 crown

May 23 2016

Gregor Townsend believes Glasgow Warriors have still to reach their peak as a club despite relinquishing their Guinness PRO12 crown with a second successive defeat to Connacht in a brutally and debilitating semi-final. Scotland stand-off Finn Russell was still in hospital in the west of Ireland last night under observation after taking a heavy face and head knock before a minute had elapsed of a tense match which the Irishmen deservedly won 16-11 to go to this week’s final against Leinster at BT Murrayfield. Russell and Zander Fagerson’s collision attempting to stop Connacht’s inspirational Bundee Aki just before the minute mark cost both further involvement in the game – Russell needed oxygen and a stretcher after his knock and while Fagerson recovered to walk from the field, he failed the head injury assessment test. The Glasgow 10 could now be in considerable doubt for Scotland’s tour to Japan next month, but for his club the effect of his and the 20-year-old tight-head’s departure was much more immediate, as they struggled to reorganise in both attack and defence. Townsend pinpointed that disruptive change – they lost Simone Favaro to another head knock before half-time as well – as key to why his side hadn’t done themselves justice. But he still believes his team will return with a vengeance next season, even though key men like Leone Nakarawa are leaving Scotstoun. “We don’t judge where we are on wins and losses: we judge things on consistency throughout a season and are we improving?,” said the coach, who signed a one-year contract extension this season. “I believe we are, as we have a new group of players who have shown they can play at this level.” The Warriors did fight back from the early blows and a soft try from Niyi Adeolokun just before the break to get to 13-11 early in the second half but never really looked like adding to Nakarawa’s 49th minute try. Although AJ MacGinty’s penalty to give Connacht the final breathing space came from a terrible decision by referee Marius Mitrea as Glasgow shunted Connacht in the scrum, the Italian ref was if anything very generous to the Scots team. Although hammering them with the penalty count, he only went to his pocket for a yellow card when Rodney Ah You high-tackled Stuart Hogg – a correct decision, but one could appreciate the injustice felt by Connacht fans. Additionally he chalked off two tries by the home side, both on technically correct decisions, but a less fussy referee wouldn’t have gone as far back as Mitrea did to find those little knock-ons. 16-11 was actually flattering to Glasgow and testament to their spirit on the night. Sadly, execution was less good, several lineouts being botched in attacking positions, and the promised “edge” to break Connacht’s defence was missing. Only Nakarawa appeared a real threat to the Irish side, and it was his last game for Glasgow. Replacing such a unique and unpredictable talent is going to be next to be impossible. Tactics weren’t great either, especially the decision to play with the wind in the first half. It was partly hamstrung by the first minute disruption, but Glasgow had only 29 per cent possession with the strong wind and then found themselves chasing the game in the final 15 minutes unable to gain any territory with the boot. One can’t feel anything but great admiration and affection for Connacht. Three years ago the IRFU wanted them wound up and only a fan and player campaign saved the plug being pulled. Like Glasgow have at Scotstoun, patience and hard work – and not a little good coaching from Pat Lam and his team – has really started something at the Sportsground. They’ll start as underdogs at Murrayfield but won’t mind that, having won there on their last two visits. For the Warriors, it’s time to lick their wounds and reassess. Next season there is no World Cup disruption, and hopefully no Scotstoun pitch disruption either. Townsend will want to get his team playing their best rugby quicker – for the last three seasons it’s taken a charge after New Year to make the play-offs. But as Townsend concedes, Ospreys, Cardiff and perhaps even Edinburgh are likely to be much better next season, and Glasgow will need to find an alternative to the Fijian frenzy that might be the real reason the Warriors have lit up the PRO12 this last three seasons.

Rugby

Edinburgh v Connacht: Ross Rennie ‘ready to start’ says Alan Solomons

November 29 2013

The potential solution to Scotland’s perennial breakdown problem is back on the pitch at Murrayfield as Edinburgh take on Connacht in the RaboDirect PRO12. Open-side Ross Rennie has been gradually re-introduced to action after a long lay-off his second injury absence lasting a year in the last two Edinburgh games and starts against the Irishmen as Edinburgh go for a fourth successive home win. Coach Alan Solomons is cautious as usual, but keen to see the 20-times capped Scotland player who suffered a shoulder injury in the Autumn Test against New Zealand in 2012 fit and firing. “We reintroduced Ross, with 15 minutes in his first game against Zebre followed by a full half against Ulster and I think a player of his calibre and experience, having had those two games, is ready to start,” he said. “We need to see what he can do as a starter, so it’s a great opportunity for Ross to show us what he is capable of.” Skipper Greig Laidlaw, Nick De Luca, Alasdair Dickinson and David Denton return straight from Scotland duty into the team but Ross Ford (calf) and Grant Gilchrist (shoulder) have to sit out. “Connacht are always a difficult side,” continued Solomons. “They were very unlucky to lose against Leinster and my experience is that they are always a tricky side to play and funnily enough they are like that home or away. Connacht’s last away win was at Murrayfield in April, but they’ve yet to pick up a point away from Galway this season.

Perth & Kinross

Top QC warns against plan to scrap corroboration

November 11 2013

One of Scotland’s top QCs has warned scrapping corroboration could see the conviction rate for rape fall in Scotland. Brian McConnachie QC claims that scrapping the requirement for corroboration will do a “disservice” to Scots Law. Corroboration means that at least two pieces of evidence are required to prove a crime. Mr McConnachie, chairman of the Faculty of Advocates’ Criminal Bar Association and a former principal advocate depute in the Crown Office, said: “My opposition to the proposal to abolish corroboration comes as much from my experience prosecuting as it does from my experience defending possibly more so. “What corroboration means is that no-one can be convicted on a single source of evidence there must be evidence from two sources. “People are very often confused and indeed encouraged to be confused by the fact that it often thought that corroboration means two eye witnesses to a crime, but that is not what it is about.” Mr McConnachie said in rape and other crimes of a sexual nature, corroboration usually meant a witness who could testify the victim displayed signs of distress after the attack. “The law is not stupid. It has developed over the years to take into account that, broadly speaking, this is the kind of crime that takes place in private,” he said. Mr McConnachie said while removing the need for corroboration may lead to a rise in prosecutions that will not automatically translate into a rise in convictions. “In my opinion, abolishing corroboration is going to be a disservice to victims of sexual abuse, it is going to be a disservice to the law of Scotland as it currently stands, and it is not going to advance the cause of any of the people who speak out in its favour.”

Rugby

Glasgow Warriors target two wins for home PRO12 semi

April 29 2016

Gregor Townsend is trying to keep his Glasgow Warriors’ target crystal clear for their last two regular season games in the Guinness PRO12 despite the endless permutations. The Warriors might have an eye on their rivals in this penultimate weekend of fixtures as they bid to beat Zebre at Scotstoun for a ninth successive league win, specifically Connacht’s meeting with Treviso in Italy and the clash of leaders Leinster and Ulster in Belfast on Saturday. However rather than try and work out what could happen, one simple truth is dictating Glasgow’s approach. “The only way we’re getting a home semi-final is if we win our next two games,” stressed Townsend. “That’s what I believe to be correct. “We want to get into a shoot-out with Connacht (in the final league game in Galway next week). Even if they lose this week it’s still going to be a shoot-out, and them winning or losing against Munster the other week didn’t really affect what we believe will happen if we both win this week, which is we’re playing that game for a home semi-final. “There could be other permutations with Leinster-Ulster the following day, there’s an outside chance that both ourselves and Connacht could get a home semi-final, but we’re keeping it simple.” A bonus point win to match the one the Warriors eased to in Parma earlier this month would do the trick, but it’s clear the Galway game has been exercising the minds of both camps even a week in advance. The Warriors have made 12 changes from the starting team that thrashed Scarlets two weeks ago while Pat Lam has made 10 changes to Connacht. Rob Harley – skippering the side – Mark Bennett and Alex Dunbar are the only players retained from the Scarlets game. Finn Russell and Tommy Seymour are among those on the bench should a late push for a bonus be necessary, but Stuart Hogg, Jonny Gray and Josh Strauss are all given an extra week off. Glasgow’s rotating squad system mans they can make these amount of changes with little ill-effect, and although this week’s announcement of 10 more players leaving the club including big-money earners Leone Nakarawa and Taqele Naiyaravoro, the numbers are just about set for next season. “We had 48 training on Monday, and 38 of our squad this year are test players,” Townsend pointed out. “We had 21 away at the World Cup and I don’t believe any other team had that many absent. “We go right to our budget. We get excellent investment from Scottish rugby and I think we will be not far off having 38 test players. When you have they are going to cost a bit of money. We re-signed guys like Jonny, Finn and Zander Fagerson and they all stepped up in salary as they have done in development.” The compensation for Nakarawa’s departure a year early will be retained within the budget and the Warriors could be looking for another second row before they are finished recruiting. “A lot of this year’s squad was to cover the Six Nations and the World Cup, and a few guys were on part-time contracts that have moved on, so the natural side of that is we have to reduce,” continued Townsend. “It will probably be about four or five less next year, but it will still be big, maybe about 45.” For several of tonight’s team – including Duncan Weir, Glenn Bryce and Jerry Yanuyanutawa – it’s likely to be their last home game before they depart the club and their “motivation was very high” as a result, added the head coach. Team: Glenn Bryce; Taqele Naiyaravoro, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Sean Lamont; Duncan Weir, Grayson Hart; Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Pat MacArthur, D’Arcy Rae; Greg Petersen, Leone Nakarawa; Rob Harley (capt), Simone Favaro, Adam Ashe. Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Ali Price, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour.

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

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