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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.

Perth & Kinross

Aberfeldy Distillery unveils plans for ‘cosy’ visitor centre

January 23 2014

A Highland Perthshire distillery which attracts 32,000 visitors each year has unveiled plans for a redevelopment of its visitor centre. The plans for Dewar’s World of Whisky at the Aberfeldy Distillery include the refurbishment of the caf and shop. Work will commence on site on Saturday and is scheduled for completion in April. The designs have a traditional feel, which was felt to be in keeping with Dewar’s rich heritage and sympathetic to the architectural features of the historical building, which is home to Dewar’s World of Whisky. Charlotte Brown, centre manager, said: “Along with creating a cosy environment for our visitors to relax and enjoy their dram, we will also see a new menu in the caf, offering freshly-prepared hot and cold lunches with a focus on local produce. “This is a genuinely exciting development and demonstrates our dedication to providing five star facilities for visitors to the Aberfeldy Distillery.” The plan also features Dewar’s vintage memorabilia going on display to the public for the first time.

Collectors' Corner

The whisky that put Perth on the map

December 30 2017

NEW YEAR used to mean a drinks cabinet bulging with Perth’s finest – and in my younger days, this did not mean craft beers and pink gin. What put Perth on the map was its great whiskies – Bell’s, Dewar’s, Famous Grouse and, for a time, Beneagles, all blended and bottled in the town before being exported and enjoyed across the world. Almost by tradition, or upbringing, Perth folk would pledge allegiance to one and never touch the others – unless offered! John Dewar & Sons was based at Inveralmond – about three quarters of the way along Perth’s Motor Mile on the Dunkeld Road. Its bonded warehouse was on the junction of Glasgow Road and Glover Street. This vast stronghold eventually made way for the Dewar’s curling rinks. Dewar’s memorabilia has always been collectable. It ranges from rare bottles of the precious stuff, to wonderful Royal Doulton flasks and water jugs, pub signs, clocks, glasses and mirrors. Lawrences’s in far-off Somerset have just sold a large enamel sign proclaiming ‘Dewar’s Whisky, Perth, By Royal Warrant to her Majesty the Queen’ – leading me to wonder if Her Majesty was a fan. The sign measured about 3ft by 3ft. Despite its obvious wear and tear it romped away to a double estimate £300. If you want to avoid a nip (weather-wise, not a dram!) take in Landseer’s magnificent Monarch of the Glen at Perth Museum (until Jan 13), a painting once owned by John Dewar and used in the firm’s promotional material. With the ‘spirit’ of New Years past in mind, I wish all readers a happy and healthy 2018.  


Thyme at Errichel, by Aberfeldy (44/50)

January 3 2016

After a week staying in a self-catering holiday cottage at Errichel Farm, around a mile south of Aberfeldy, we had fallen in love with the magnificent views, walks and fresh air. So what better way to spend our last night in Highland Perthshire than with a proper family meal at the Thyme at Errichel Restaurant? Just a 30-second walk from our cottage’s front door, it’s here that chef Paul Newman and his team aim to showcase the best in Scottish produce, sourcing quality local ingredients, along with flavours and influences from around the world. Arriving at reception, and catching a glimpse of the chefs hard at work in the kitchen, we were invited by a jovial waitress to have a drink in the cosy, lamp-lit, beamed lounge, which houses a large fireplace and rows of wall-mounted bookcases. The drinks menu features a wide range of beers from Inveralmond Brewery and the Head East from Strathbrann Brewery. Thyme also boasts an impressive range of Scottish botanical gins from Strathearn Distillery, based in Methven, and ever popular Caoruun from Balmenach on Speyside. And if whisky is your thing, the selection includes Dewar’s distilled in nearby Aberfeldy and Edradour from Pitlochry. We were shown to a table in the main restaurant area, where the stone walls contrasted with a large roundel-styled roof, while the windows looked out on to trees floodlit in multicolour. There was no children’s menu but the staff were only too pleased to create a handmade pizza for our nine-year-old and six-year-old, served with baskets of real chips. The smiles told their own story when the food arrived. To start, my wife went for the leek terrine with flat-leaf parsley sauce. I decided on Paul’s own beetroot-cured Wester Ross Scottish salmon with essence of citrus, horseradish and Dewar’s White Label whisky, served with pickled cucumber and honey mustard dressing. The taste was mouth-watering, the presentation excellent. For mains, my wife chose the baked Wester Ross Scottish salmon topped with prawn mousse and wrapped in Parma ham, with an orange and lemon cream sauce, served with freekeh. As for me, this was no time to feel guilty. I’d been out inspecting the pigs during our stay at the nearby holiday cottage and wanted to sample something produced locally. So it had to be the Toulouse sausage made with Errichel pork with red onion and golden raisin mash, accompanied by braised red cabbage and chestnut. It was very tasty indeed and reassuring to know how and where the meat had been reared. Other tempting options on the menu included the traditional Cape Malay beef curry with Thyme’s Shetland cattle enriched with coconut, apricots and raisins, or Fife’s renowned Puddledub Buffalo Farm buffalo sirloin steak, served with roasted shallot, vine ripe tomato, portabello mushroom and cut chips. Despite feeling stuffed, room was found for dessert. For me, that meant the chocolate fudge brownie served with Stewart Tower vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit coulis. My wife couldn’t resist the rich puff pastry topped with patisserie cream and sliced apples, served with Seville marmalade ice cream. Again the presentation was imaginative. And as for the kids? A simple serving of ice cream went down a treat. That and a mini bag of Maltesers to take home left smiles all round. Thyme also caters for small to medium-sized weddings, events, conferences and cookery school events. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal as the finale to our holiday. But for anyone travelling from further afield for a night out, the menu would be well worth the trip. Rating: 44/50. Price: Three courses: £35; two courses: £29. Info: www.errichel.co.uk.

Other sports

Bullseye for foodbanks as world champion Gary Anderson backs appeal

November 22 2016

World darts champion Gary Anderson will join kind-hearted fans in hitting the charity bullseye to help the needy. The hundreds of spectators who will pack into the Dewar’s Centre in Perth on Thursday, December 8 for the exhibition match between Scots star Anderson and English rival James Wade are being asked to bring along a bag of groceries to donate to the Perth and Kinross Foodbank. The organisation is part of a nationwide network, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the United Kingdom. It has foodbanks in Perth, Blairgowrie, Crieff and Pitlochry and the run-up to Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year. Anderson, who will start the defence of his world title at the Alexandra Palace in London later next month, will be doing his bit by bringing along a bag, as will his opponent Wade. The Scot said: "I'm really looking forward to coming back to Perth again this year. “It was here last December that my form picked up and set me up nicely for the World Championship. “So fingers crossed it sets me on my way for the hat-trick of titles. “The crowd last year was amazing, what a noise they made. “I'm hearing it could be triple the crowd this year and that, paired with the fantastic venue, means it's going to be a great night. “What a great touch by the promoters to get the local foodbank involved as well. “I'll have my bag with me to donate.” Wade added: "Scottish crowds are always amazing and speaking to Gary about Perth last year he said it was a particularly good atmosphere so I'm buzzing for it. “Also, like Gary, I'll be bringing my bag along to donate to the foodbank.” The VIP tickets for the Anderson v Wade clash have sold out but there are still a limited number of standard tickets available, costing £35. They can be bought from the Dewar’s Centre or via info@charge-it-Scotland.com. The match will be promoted in Perth High Street this Saturday by none other than the original Bully from cult darts quiz show Bullseye.

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

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.