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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.


Tattoo organisers hope to reach a billion people through expansion programme

May 24 2018

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo wants to reach an audience of a billion through an international expansion programme.The Tattoo, which has already staged shows in Australia and New Zealand in the last 15 years, plans to double its turnover to £20 million by 2025.The company wants to secure overseas tours in China, Australia and Canada from 2019 onwards.The ambition to attract a global audience of a billion by 2025, a tenfold increase, is described as “a step change” for the organisation whose annual Edinburgh show is bound by the physical size of the Edinburgh Castle esplanade.Brigadier David Allfrey, Tattoo producer and chief executive, said: “The Tattoo is one of the greatest shows on earth, attracting audiences across the globe to Edinburgh and selling out year on year.“We are a small company but we have big ambitions and are focused on delivering a show that is bigger and better, more technically advanced and visually thrilling every year.“Edinburgh is an amazing stage and will always be our home, but for us to continue to thrive as an organisation, we need to look beyond the esplanade and the walls of the city.”The company aims to continue to grow revenue streams overseas to deliver commercial benefits and reinvest in Scotland.The show sells 220,000 tickets for its Edinburgh show each August, generating £77 million annually for the UK economy with a further £30 million value added in full-time employment.Performances in Australia and New Zealand in 2016 generated more than 240,000 ticket sales and provided £50 million gross economic impacts to the cities of Melbourne and Wellington.Brig Allfrey added: “Our previous tours have shown there is a huge appetite for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo internationally, and we want to build our brand by giving more people the opportunity to enjoy the wonderfully rich and exhilarating Tattoo experience more often and in evolving forms.“We are in the unique position to be able to bring together military and civil societies, link Scotland with the international community and strengthen ties with current and future British allies so we’re excited to reveal these plans today and invite our key partners, sponsors, supporters and audiences to join us on this journey to new destinations and long-term 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


Edinburgh Military Tattoo is coming to Dundee

July 17 2014

Bagpipes and drums will fill City Square as Dundee gets a taste of the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The musicians and dancers will come north to Tayside for a one-off performance on Tuesday August 19. The free event, starting at 12.30pm, will showcase over 600 performers featuring acts from Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malta and the UK. The line-up will include music from the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra, Highland Dancers, Military Bands, an Indian cultural troupe and the inimitable Massed Pipes and Drums. Depute Lord Provost Christina Roberts said: “We’re delighted the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is coming to Dundee with a free taster of action. “Each year it draws in big crowds to its home at Edinburgh Castle and I hope the people of the Dundee will do the same on August 19. “It is an honour to host the performers here for the afternoon which is sure to be a spectacular display.” Royal Edinburgh Tattoo Chief Executive & Producer, Brigadier David Allfrey, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide both visitors and locals a chance to sample a complimentary flavour of this year’s Homecoming-themed production, for which some tickets are still available.” The mini tour will also visit Glasgow and Stirling as part of the Scottish Government’s 2014 Homecoming Scotland initiative. The 65th Royal Edinburgh Tattoo will be held at Edinburgh Castle between August 1 and 23.

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.

Perth & Kinross

Military Tattoo chiefs plan historic Perth visit

August 4 2016

Perth is getting ready for its first ever military tattoo. Bosses at the Edinburgh Castle spectacular have confirmed they will visit the Fair City for a one-one performance later this month. Around 400 performers will march from South Inch, along Tay Street to North Inch on Sunday, August 21. The daytime event will mark the 750th anniversary of the Treaty of Perth. The historic document ended a bitter conflict between Scotland and Norway and a copy will go on show in the city later this year. It was signed on July 2, 1266, by Magnus VI of Norway and King Alexander III of Scotland at the Blackfriars monestary on the northern edge of the city. The treaty settled the sovereignty of the Hebrides, Isle of Man, Shetland and Orkney. The procession will form at the South Inch from 10.45am and will be led into the city centre by local bands and youth groups. Elements of this year's huge Edinburgh show will perform a mini-Tattoo, offering a 50-minute sample of the internationally-renowned pageant. Perth provost Liz Grant said it was a great boost for the city, which is currently hosting the poignant Weeping Window poppies display. "We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to host this prestigious event in Perth," she said. "It will no doubt be a breath-taking display of military choreography. "I am especially looking forward to the show of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo centrepiece acts and the involvement of our very own Perth and District Pipe Band, who will bring a very colourful and joyful focus to the event." It is hoped the tattoo will help strengthen Perth's bid for City of Culture status, which will formally launch two days before. Brigadier David Alfrey, chief executive and producer of the tattoo, said: "Perth is an exquisite city, rich in highland heritage and Scottish culture. The city and the venue on the banks of the River Tay offers us a perfect stage for a 'taste of the tattoo.' "This is the Tattoo's first ever visit to the city and so, for us and some of the visiting international acts, this is a special occasion." He added: "I hope we will entertain and inspire a Perth crowd on a perfect Sunday afternoon. It should be a colourful and fun occasion in its own right and may encourage some folk to come to Edinburgh to see the full show in all its glory." The Tattoo launched its 2016 programme in Edinburgh this week and is expected to draw crowds of 220,000 spectators from across the globe. Each year the international brand showcases a phenomenal mix of military pageantry, music, dance and technical wizardry.

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.


The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo wows crowds during tour of Scotland

August 13 2014

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has taken its show to Stirling. The Taste of the Tattoo display at the Thistles Shopping Centre follows on from a performance in Glasgow last week, with another free event planned in Dundee. About 600 performers are taking part in the touring shows, with thousands of spectators expected to turn out. The Tattoo has sold out all tickets for its performances in the capital for the 16th year in a row. Brigadier David Allfrey, chief executive and producer of the Tattoo, said the events were a way to share the riches of the show. VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said the Tattoo was “one of the must-see events of the summer”. The next touring performance will be in Dundee City Square from 12.30pm next Tuesday.