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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.

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

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

Business news

Prestigious BP oil contract for Dundee project management training company

June 7 2017

Dundee-headquartered training provider 20/20 Business Insight has won a prestigious contract with one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. The Broughty Ferry-based company, which also has offices in Aberdeen, London and the USA, has been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. Ironically, the prestigious account has been won after 20/20 stepped away from its previous focus almost entirely on the oil and gas sector – adding BP to a diverse client portfolio that now includes Wood Group, Centrica, Balfour Beatty, British Aerospace, Hinckley Point, Network Rail, Diageo and Wm Grant. Chief executive officer Tony Marks, who said the new status came off the back of recent big contract wins within the nuclear power industry, added: “20|20 are delighted to have been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. “It’s a great team performance in demonstrating our international capability and upstream oil industry experience to win this prestigious account.” 20|20 Business Insight, which employs 26 staff and had revenues of £2.84 million last year, is a full service, project management, business and leadership training and consulting company who deliver training courses and consulting services throughout the world. It is the largest independent provider of project management training courses in the UK. The consulting team work with companies to analyse competence baselines and deliver maturity assessments, design bespoke and accredited training programmes, create handbooks and manuals, implement project management procedures and protocols and then measure and report effectiveness. Mr Marks said that crucially, they had the ability to deliver internationally-accredited training and consulting anywhere in the world, primarily in oil and gas, engineering and construction, utilities, nuclear, food and drink However, despite an international outlook, they remained proud to be rooted in Dundee. “We are big fans of Dundee and supporters of the Tay Cities Deal to bring jobs, including de-commissioning, to Dundee,” he added. “When we started in 2003, we were almost exclusively in the oil and gas sector before diversifying into other sectors. We were lucky because two years ago the oil and gas sector started to decline, and accounts for around 10% of the work we do now.” Mr Marks has been involved in business for 27 years and has seen four or five cycles based on the oil barrel price changing. During that period, the level of business has come back smaller each time. “So it’s quite interesting we are back in the oil and gas sector now,” he added. He said the BP deal had been going on behind the scenes for nine months and “should mean quite a jump in business for us.” He added: “It’s not a guarantee of any level of work. But the revenue should be significant and comes off the back of other big contract wins.”

UK & World

Man bailed in M20 murder probe

February 23 2018

A man who was arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a woman was found on the M20 has been released on bail.The body was discovered by police on the London-bound carriageway near Ashford at 6.05pm on Tuesday. The road was closed between junctions 9 and 10 for nearly 24 hours while the scene was investigated.Officers appealed for the driver of a silver Nissan Qashqai to come forward and a man handed himself in at a police station on Wednesday evening, Kent Police said.On Friday morning the force said the man had been released on bail until March 15.The circumstances surrounding the death of the 32-year-old from Kent remain a mystery and detectives are continuing to investigate.A post-mortem is expected to take place at midday on Friday.Police are still appealing for drivers who were on the road at the time to check their vehicles for signs of a collision, and for anyone with dash cam footage or who saw a Nissan Qashqai with the registration KY15 WWX at the time of the incident to come forward.

UK & World

M20 body identified as man arrested in murder probe

February 22 2018

Police have identified the body found on the M20 as a 32-year-old woman from Kent.A man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in custody, Kent Police said on Thursday afternoon.Officers discovered the body on the London-bound carriageway near Ashford at 6.05pm on Tuesday. The road was closed between junctions 9 and 10 for nearly 24 hours while the scene was investigated.Officers initially appealed for the driver of a silver Nissan Qashqai to come forward and a man handed himself in at a police station on Wednesday evening.The incident caused hours of delays with between six and seven miles of queues stretching back to junction 11 and a diversion was in place.The road reopened shortly before 3pm on Wednesday.An accountant from Ashford told Press Association of his shock at the scene he saw while driving on to the coastbound stretch of motorway at about 6.20pm on Tuesday while emergency services were on the opposite side of the road.The 21-year-old, who asked not to be named, said: “As I entered the motorway I expected to see a crash, when I suddenly realised that it wasn’t and unfortunately it appeared to be a body lying in the central lane with police and ambulance staff around it.“Because of the torches being shone by police (I could see) it appeared that the body had been struck by vehicles.“It was very shocking. It is not a sight I would want anyone to witness.“My condolences are with the family of the deceased.”Police are still appealing for drivers who were on the road at the time to check their vehicles for signs of a collision, and for anyone with dash cam footage or who saw the Nissan Qashqai with the registration KY15 WWX at the time of the incident to come forward.

Blazing Saddles

Some cycling rules are made to be broken

May 5 2018

The world of cycling is filled with dos and don’ts. I don’t mean the thick race rule book that arrives every year with my British Cycling membership, or even the Highway Code. What I’m talking about are the self-penned and arbitrary notions that cyclists come up with to govern their own peculiar habits. They are often based on fashions that come and go, perceived wisdom and superstition. They serve the idiosyncrasies that are part of a sport that is steeped in tradition and reflect the rather unique nature of those who partake in all things two-wheeled. Velominati, Keepers of the Cog – it is fun and mostly tongue-in-cheek, but is the modern day equivalent of what all cyclists having been doing since the invention of the bicycle: telling us what we should and shouldn’t do while riding our bikes. New York World, the now-defunct US newspaper, published an article in 1895 with 41 rules it set down for female cyclists. Among the hilarious, sometimes practical and often downright archaic and shocking, are some, such as “Don’t forget your toolbag” that wouldn’t be out of place in our modern Lycra-clad world. Others are Python-esque in their surreality: “Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.” There are some that turn the helmet debate upside down with statements like “Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers”, and “Don’t wear a man’s cap.”   By the time the list reaches “Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes to see how it feels” I couldn’t get past thinking of David Walliams and Matt Lucas in a Little Britain sketch. However absurd many of them may seem it is not a big stretch of the imagination to think of riders in another century looking back with shock and amusement at the Velominati rule book: “Facial Hair is to be carefully regulated” is one criterion I already fall foul of, but which also would not seem out-of-place in 1895 either. Many of today’s suggested cycling rituals have practical reasons. Lining your inner tube valve up with the label on the tyre might seem at first pernickety, but it helps with finding the valve when you go to pump up a tyre. There are the rituals that are borne out of superstition and have now become such common parlance that they are often followed through without an irrational thought – pinning the race number “13” on upside down is one. Over the years I have developed my own rules and generally, my actions are based on purely practical reasons. The night before an early morning ride I place my kit out in the order that I put it on in the morning (it means I can dress quickly without faff), but I also pack my kit when I’m travelling the same way which means I’m less likely to turn up in France and realise I’ve left my cycling shorts in the cupboard back home. My most recent discovery and one that is fairly obvious when you think about it (but I didn’t) is that I should never, ever buy another white bike. Unless you are scrupulously attentive towards its cleaning, then you are always going to have a bike that looks filthy. Rather than detracting from the pleasure of riding a bike, these etiquettes, whether you heed them or not, bring dimension to the activity we love so much and reflect the variety and whimsical notions of those who partake. Rather than rigidity, they offer the opportunity to express your own individuality within the wider world of the bicycle. Route: Dundee to St Andrews Details: 20 miles/ 34km (one way) Maps OS 1:50,000 Map 54 & 59 Start: Tay Bridge  OS 1:50,000 Map 54 – NO407301 Finish: St Andrews OS 1:50,000 Map 59 – NO5117 Details: The route starts with a crossing of the Tay Road Bridge, before turning east at Newport-On-Tay along a lovely section of cycle path towards Tayport. The route then carries on through Tayport and into Tentsmuir Forest, before heading back out to Leuchars. A short road section at Guardbridge will lead you onto another section of cycle path that finishes in St Andrews The Map: A detailed GPS plot of the route on an OS map can be found at: http://www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/osmapdisp?openform&route=dundee-to-st-andrews-cycle-route  

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.

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