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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...

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.

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

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.

UK & World

Father vows to bring Melissa Reid home from Peru

August 16 2013

The father of one of two women held on suspicion of drug smuggling in Peru has vowed to bring his daughter home. William Reid flew to the capital Lima to support Melissa, who turns 20 on Friday, and told her during an emotional reunion to "be strong". Ms Reid, from Scotland, and Michaella McCollum Connolly, 20, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone in Northern Ireland, are suspected by detectives of trying to leave the country with £1.5 million of cocaine in their luggage. They were detained while trying to board a flight from the Peruvian capital to Spain last week. The pair both deny the accusations, and say they are victims of a violent gang who coerced them into carrying the drugs. Lawyer Peter Madden, who is representing Ms McCollum Connolly, is expected to arrive in Peru on Friday. As he left Belfast for Lima he said that Ms McCollum Connolly would deny any allegations if charged, but warned that legal proceedings could be lengthy. He said: "She is saying she has done nothing wrong, that she is innocent and that as far as any offences are concerned, if she is charged she will be denying it." Mr Reid was able to visit his daughter at the Dirandro police station in Lima for 15 minutes on Wednesday night, the Daily Mail said, and for longer on Thursday night. During their meeting, Ms Reid told her father: "They made me do it." She told him that while she worked on the Mediterranean party island of Ibiza she was introduced to a British man who eventually forced her into meeting a gang of Colombian gangsters, who put a gun to her head. She told her father of how the gang forced her to fly to Peru, saying: "I wanted to tell the air hostesses or anyone in the airports, but the men said they would know if we had spoken to anyone, that they were watching all the time. "It was a choice between doing what I was told and getting it over and done with and hopefully getting back to Spain or trying to escape and being killed." Ms Reid said that she fears evidence in Peru has been contaminated by police because they did not wear gloves as they handled the food bags in which the drugs are said to have been stored, the Mail said. When Ms Reid was told to return to her cell, her father told her: "We will do everything we can to get you out of here. We will work something out." Police are waiting for a translator before officially questioning the two women, which is expected to happen in the next few days. They may be held pre-charge for up to 30 days and could then spend up to three years in prison before a trial.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

UCI ‘could impose provisional ban on Chris Froome’ as anti-doping case continues

February 2 2018

Cycling’s world governing body the UCI could impose a provisional ban on Chris Froome if it feels his anti-doping case is dragging on too long, Press Association Sport understands.The 32-year-old Briton is soon expected to announce where he will be racing for the first time since his third-place finish in the time trial at the Road World Championships in Norway on September 20.That was the day he learned he had returned an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol two weeks before, on his way to victory at the Vuelta a Espana – the second half of last year’s historic Grand Tour double, having already won his fourth Tour de France.Athletes are allowed to take up to eight puffs of an inhaler every 12 hours and the Team Sky leader denies taking more than the permitted amount that day.But a urine sample he gave after the Vuelta’s 18th stage had twice the permitted concentration of salbutamol and he must now provide an innocent explanation for that reading or face an anti-doping rule violation.Despite a recent Italian report that he is considering accepting a reduced ban on the basis of negligence, Froome and his team have said they believe there is a physiological reason for the elevated reading and intend to clear his name.As salbutamol is what is known as a specified, or threshold, drug and he has not yet been charged with an anti-doping rule violation, he has not been suspended by the authorities.He could, though, have opted for a voluntary suspension and not raced until his case is settled. This would enable him to backdate any ban he may receive to the start of his self-imposed ban.It would also avoid the possibility of having to give up results or prize money he might earn while riding under the threat of a UCI-imposed ban, which would not start until the date of his anti-doping hearing.This would be the worst outcome for both Froome and his sport, as his case could take months to be resolved, during which time he intends to ride cycling’s other Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, in May and go for a record-equalling fifth Tour victory in July.Speaking to reporters at last month’s Tour Down Under in Australia, new UCI president David Lappartient said he thought it would be better for cycling if Froome suspended himself but said the governing body could not force him to do so.The UCI has, however, since clarified this position with regard to article 7.9.3 in its anti-doping rules.This states that the Switzerland-based body can impose a provisional ban when there has been an adverse analytical finding, it just has never done it before for a salbutamol case or any other specified substance, for that matter.Press Association Sport understands that the UCI is actually continuing to evaluate its position and may trigger article 7.9.3 if the case is not moving along fast enough.In the meantime, Froome has been riding huge distances, at high altitude and great speed, while training in South Africa.He is expected to announce where he will make his 2018 season debut in the coming days and the choice appears to be between the Ruta Del Sol in Spain or Portugal’s Volta ao Algarve, which both start on February 14.

Readers' letters

September 27: Study group to manage beaver situation

September 27 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - Reference your article, Tay beavers not protected (September 24) the Scottish Government has been asserting that this is the case to protect the exit strategy of their official trial at Knapdale Forest in Argyll. An application to reintroduce beavers there in 2005 was turned down by the previous administration because, among other things, ''no provision could be found in either European or UK legislation that would allow the exit strategy to be implemented in a lawful manner''. This means that, once introduced, they cannot then be removed if they have become established in the wild. Despite many efforts to clarify the confused legal position, including this latest and very welcome attempt by Murdo Fraser MSP, the Scottish Government continues to duck this issue. The situation is a mess, and they know it. Almost certainly, we have an irreversible beaver reintroduction in Argyll and this will, by default, give legal protection to the Tay beavers as well as they are living and breeding in the wild in their natural, historic range, only a short distance from the official trial area. In the short term, there is no need to harm the beavers anyway, as a Tayside Beaver Study Group has been established to provide a point of contact and give management advice on specific situations. The immediate priority is to try to improve communications and get this working properly so that it can indeed serve a useful purpose. Farmers and landowners should also be aware that, irrespective of the situation in relation to EU protection, it is an offence to be in possession of a dead animal and any animals secretly culled would deny invaluable genetic and health information to the study group. We should be able to manage the situation in front of us over the next few years if the study group is working properly. Victor Clements.Native Woodland Advice,1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy. No sale until properly tested Sir, - Dangerous drugs have claimed yet another victim (''New mum's tragic death'', The Courier, September 24). When are the authorities going to get to grips with this country's drugs problem? So-called legal drugs are sold over the counter or online because the manufacturers have altered the formula of a banned drug just enough to make it legal. There then ensues a lengthy delay while drug-takers are at risk until that new drug is itself banned. Since the drug producers are prepared to play ducks and drakes in this way with people's lives, why do our various and nefarious governments not bring in a new licensing law for drugs ie make it compulsory for all drugs to be licensed? Any new drug produced would then not be allowed to go on sale anywhere in the country until it had passed government scientists' tests, been declared safe and given a licence. This system would be a lot safer and would save many more lives than the present system which allows drugs to be sold before they have been subjected to official testing. George K. McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth. Real reason for the complaints Sir, - Your edition of September 24 reported the arrival of Revs Francis and Helen Bridger at St Mary's Episcopal Church in Broughty Ferry under the title ''New chapter as couple to share parish''. It is indeed a new chapter and parishioners, past and present, wish the new incumbents every success. It is necessary, however, to correct the reported version of events for the previous chapter. Complaints made about Rev Dr Bower arose not because of his sexuality but because of his management style and behaviour towards some parishioners. The Church should not be tarred with the brush of homophobia. Sally Carus.28 Camphill Road,Broughty Ferry,Dundee. Not connected with seasons Sir, - The caption beneath the photograph of St Salvador's Holy Cross Day procession on September 14 and printed in the Dundee Courier on September 15 states that the occasion ''is said to signify the end of summer and the beginning of autumn''. In fact, Holy Cross Day, (on which incidentally we also commemorate the dedication of St Salvador's Church), commemorates the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 335, after the discovery by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, of the True Cross in a tomb nearby in 326. As an aside, Wikipedia mentions this day as beginning ''monastic winter'' under the Rule of St Benedict, but apart from that I cannot find any direct connection with the seasons. Martin Andrews.Church warden and head server,St Salvador's Church. Take it home Sir, - While I know the majority of dog owners pick up after their pets I want to appeal to the inconsiderate few. I do not have a sign at my back garden saying ''dog toilet'', nor a sign in the hedge saying ''dog waste bin''. Looking on the bright side, maybe one lucky dark night the minority will drag the mess home on to their own nice carpets. Peter Moran.26 Rose Crescent,Perth. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.