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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

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.


Thousands flock to revamped Kirkcaldy Galleries

June 13 2013

More than 3,000 people flocked to Kirkcaldy’s revamped museum and art gallery in its first weekend since it reopened to the public. Figures obtained by The Courier show that 3,306 people visited Kirkcaldy Galleries on Saturday and Sunday, following a £2.5 million revamp. Opened by former prime minister Gordon Brown, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, on Friday, it marks a hugely successful return for the venue after an 18-month closure. Dorothy Browse, Fife Cultural Trust’s service manager for libraries, art, museums and archives, said: “There’s been a real buzz about the place and we’re still in the throes of welcoming people. “People are quite taken with the building and everything has been busy the gift shop, cafe everywhere has been packed.” Formerly known as Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery, the change in title to Kirkcaldy Galleries was decided as a means of making the venue easier to promote and for attracting visitors from beyond Fife. Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, said: “I am delighted with the 3,000 visitors to the Kirkcaldy Galleries at the weekend and hope it’s a sign of a massive future for the facility.” MSP David Torrance said of the revamp: “It is great news for the whole of the Kirkcaldy area and will hopefully attract visitors into the town who will spend money in the local economy.”


Horse breeder and journalist Dorothy Dawson

April 13 2012

One of the best known figures in Scottish equestrian circles has died at the age of 76. Dorothy Dawson was a successful breeder of Welsh section As, section Bs, and show hunter ponies in her own right, but for the last 20 years had also been a prolific freelance reporter for a number of publications, including The Courier, for which she first wrote in the early 1990s. With her husband Stuart, a retired banker, she spent the summer months criss-crossing the country, reporting on horse shows and breed events. Her enthusiasm was such that not only the horses and ponies were described in great detail but also the stories of the owners and riders. Dorothy's copy was never late and a Saturday show report would invariably be typed and despatched before she and Stuart set off from their home at Currie for Sunday morning service at St Anne's, Corstorphine, where they both served as church elders. Born and brought up in Edinburgh, Dorothy attended Mary Erskine School, before studying to become a teacher at Moray House. Her working life was spent as a primary teacher at schools in Edinburgh but horses remained a lifelong passion. In her earlier years as a breeder she showed her first pony, the Welsh Witch, with some success. Later, along with her son David, she built up their own Davdor stud. Dorothy bought her first Welsh section A pony Waxwing Arrow shortly after the Kinross Show, in 1987, which was followed not long after by the section B pony Quatro Alisha, which she also purchased from Waxwing. The Davdor stud's most marked success came from the home-bred show hunter pony Davdor Alan, winner of a clutch of awards including from the Royal International Horse Show, and also from Davdor Alastair. David was diagnosed with a brain tumour in childhood, which was treated but sadly returned in adult life. David died in 1996. David Blair, of the Waxwing Stud, at Saline, said:''Dorothy's dedication as a journalist was unbelievable. She would always be at a show from first thing in the morning and stay the whole day. "She was real character, she loved to travel and was always very affectionately know throughout the Scottish equestrian show circuit as Dotty.'' Mrs Dawson is survived by her husband Stuart. They had been due to celebrate their golden wedding in July.


Arbuthnott marks author connection

March 31 2010

The life and times of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the celebrated pen-name of James Leslie Mitchell, were recalled when a plaque was unveiled at his childhood home in Arbuthnott. Bloomfield, now a modernised cottage high on the Reisk Road, north of Arbuthnott Church in the heart of the Mearns, was Mitchell's home during his formative years. Born in 1901, Mitchell's background and upbringing were steeped in the traditional crofting life of the north-east of Scotland and as an adult he looked back proudly on his roots. While his early years were spent at his birthplace, the Aberdeenshire croft of Hillhead of Seggat, the following nine years when he lived at Bloomfield were profoundly influential. Among those at the unveiling of the simple plaque were Mitchell's daughter Rhea Martin and her son Alasdair. The idea of the plaque came from William and Dorothy Clark, who bought Bloomfield two years ago.Little-known connectionMr Clark said, "When we came to Bloomfield I picked up a copy of an article which referred to the unknown connection between the house and Lewis Grassic Gibbon. "From time to time we had visitors stopping and asking if this was the house, so we decided to put up a plaque to recognise the fact that a great author had lived here as a boy. "It seemed odd that there was nothing here to mark the author's time in this house. After all, the Grassic Gibbon Centre is just down the road." Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson, who attended the ceremony, said, "This is a fitting and dignified commemoration of the link between Bloomfield and one of Scotland's greatest writers who wrote so powerfully about the Mearns and its landscape and people." The annual supper of the Friends of the Grassic Gibbon Centre was held last week. Guest speaker was Dr David Northcroft from the Elphinstone Institute and musical entertainment was by Tich Frier.


“Surely someone who has had two heart attacks is a priority” — concern over cardiology appointment delays

September 16 2016

Tayside patients are having to wait nearly half a year to see a cardiologist. A letter sent to one Dundee man, who had already suffered two heart attacks, told him he would have to wait 26 to 28 weeks to for a cardiology outpatient appointment — despite suffering blackouts and dizzy spells. NHS Tayside said the problem has been caused by a staffing crisis but the appointment of two new consultants, who will start work in November and January, should help ease the strain on the service. However, they stressed patients would be seen earlier if their symptoms warranted it. David Brown, 68, of Kettins Terrace in Dundee suffered two heart attacks in one day in 2009. The former service engineer had two stents fitted bit still is suffering dizzy spells and blackouts. Despite this, NHS Tayside still said he would have to wait almost half a year to see a specialist. His wife Dorothy was so disgusted she posted a copy of the letter sent by NHS Tayside to her husband online. The letter, sent by the Cardiology Appointments Office, stated: “Regrettably I must advise you that the cardiology department has a limited number of consultants available to see patients. Although NHS Tayside aim to achieve a waiting time standard of 12 weeks from receipt of a patient’s routine referral to their outpatient appointment, we are unable to achieve this standard in cardiology at present. “Outpatient waits for a routine cardiology appointment are currently between 26 and 28 weeks of referral. “Patients assessed as clinically urgent are given priority. Please accept our apologies for this and our assurance that every effort is being made to reduce our waits to a more acceptable level.” Mr Brown said: “To be told I have to wait this long for an appointment is disgusting. “They said they prioritise cases — surely someone who has had two heart attacks and is suffering blackouts is a priority.” Dr Alan Cook, medical director for the operational unit with NHS Tayside said: “Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment on matters relating to individual patients however, if a patient’s symptoms are changing, worsening or becoming urgent, they should return to see their GP. “The cardiology service has had two consultant vacancies since the summer of 2015 with no successful applicants in the first two rounds of advertising.  Following a third round of advertising, one post has recently been appointed with the successful candidate commencing in post in November 2016. “The remaining consultant post was advertised and successfully recruited to with the consultant commencing in January 2017.  There will be an outpatient commitment included in both of these consultant job plans. “The current maximum waiting time for routine cardiology appointments is 23 weeks and the maximum waiting time for urgent cardiology referrals is six weeks. Patients presenting with emergency cardiology conditions would be admitted immediately according to their clinical need.” However, Dorothy said the response still does not help her or her husband. She said: “It doesn't negate the distress the letter caused or shorten my husband's wait, does it?”