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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...

Angus & The Mearns

£6.4m Montrose housing project officially opened

July 9 2013

A £6.4 million affordable housing development has been officially opened in Montrose. The site at Wirren Gardens previously held a mix of dilapidated garages, demolished cottages and temporary mobile homes which once formed part of lands owned by the ancient hospital. In recent years it was sometimes known as Dungman’s Tack a reference to it being used as a holding area for horses and livestock. The new homes are phase one of Angus Council’s major new council housing development, which will see a further 16 homes completed later in the year. The houses will be offered for rent as part of the council’s affordable house building programme, which will see the construction of more than 150 new homes between 2012 and 2015. The houses were officially opened on Monday by Angus Provost Helen Oswald who said they would make “fantastic homes for local people and make a real positive difference to their lives”. She added: “Montrose has a high demand for council housing and I am delighted we have been able to deliver them on schedule.”

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

Angus & The Mearns

Plans to build 45 council houses in Montrose warmly welcomed

July 19 2011

Montrosians are hoping the first council houses to be built in the town for nearly 30 years will get the go-ahead. A full planning application for a £6.4 million development of new council housing has just been lodged. Angus Council intends to build 45 houses at the site called Dungman's Tack in Wishart Avenue and on the site of Wirren House, with work starting by the end of the year. The project will create 29 houses at Dungman's Tack and a further 16 houses nearby on the site of former care home Wirren House. That building is being used as an alternative sports venue during the construction of the new Montrose swimming pool and sports centre refurbishment. Wirren House will be demolished when no longer required for the decant. The application also includes a boilerhouse to provide a district heating system to all 45 houses in the programme. Pending approval of the full planning application, work is expected to start on the first phase of the project, at Dungman's Tack, at the end of 2011 with building on the cleared site of Wirren House expected to be completed in 2013. Montrose community councillor Thomas Stewart said there was a desperate need for council housing and giving the green light to the proposals would lead to the tidying-up of what has become an unkempt and overgrown eyesore site in a prominent position. "I think it is fantastic that Angus Council is looking to build new council housing," he said. The last council houses built in the town were those at Caledonia Place, which went up in the early 1980s. The last major council housing development was at Borrowfield in the mid 1970s but many of these houses have now passed into private ownership, leaving the council with just a few pockets of local authority-owned dwellings some that have become undesirable to tenants and hard to let. "We need new housing," said Mr Stewart. "There's not enough large size houses in the town for families. They are at a premium." He added that he knew of one family desperate to get a council house in Montrose. They tried the local authority and local housing associations but in the end were forced to leave the town and settle in a private let in Arbroath. "They didn't want to move away from the town but had no option," said Mr Stewart. "They just couldn't get a house in Montrose. "New council houses would be very welcome. I always thought when they started putting (council) houses up for sale all these years ago that money should have been reinvested in more council houses but it was not. It would be good to see them start building again." Montrose councillor Paul Valentine said there was a waiting list for council housing in the town and many people were appealing for help from their councillor because they were finding it impossible to get a local authority home. "We definitely are in need of social housing in Montrose," he said. "There is quite a big waiting list and I would think each of the four Angus councillors in Montrose could tell stories of people coming to them looking for council housing. Unfortunately, there just are not the properties "It is very welcome to see planning permission for council housing being applied for."

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose to see first new council homes for 30 years

September 22 2011

Montrose is to get its first new council homes for 30 years as part of a double Angus social housing boost. The Dungman's Tack project at Wishart Gardens is now set for the go-ahead and will see 45 homes built on open brownfield land and the site of the former Wirren House residential care home, once its role as a decant leisure centre during the construction of the new town swimming pool is complete. Along with another five homes on the former mortar holes garages site off Lindsay Street in Kirriemuir, the 50-house boost for the district has been hailed by councillors. The Montrose site will be developed in two phases the first 29 houses on land nearest to Rose Hill, with a second tranche of 16 homes on the site currently occupied by Wirren House. The development will comprise 17 two-bedroom, 18 three-bedroom and ten four-bedroom homes, all semi-detached or in terraces of three and predominantly two storeys in height. Heating for the scheme will come from a gas and biomass powered district boiler house scheme. The boiler house and fuel store will be on a separate site to the north of Broomfield Road and in the industrial estate. The council says similar heating scheme already operate in Angus. Development standards councillors were faced with several local objections to the plan, which was recommended for approval by Angus infrastructure services chief Eric Lowson. Concerns raised included traffic issues, loss of parking, amenity and privacy. One objector claimed that long-standing tenants of cottages at Rosehill Road had indicated they would move out if the development went ahead, believing their privacy would be "totally destroyed". In his report, Mr Lowson said: "I consider that the provision of housing on a site that has previously not contained houses is going to have some impact on the amenity of existing properties." But the director added he was satisfied that while neighbours' privacy will be reduced it would "not be to a level that would justify refusal of the application." "The proposed development will provide a substantial number of new affordable dwellings on a vacant and partially brownfield site. Whilst I note matters raised by third parties I do not consider that the matter raised justify refusal of the application." The Kirrie scheme will see three two-storey homes and a pair of single storey semi-detached houses built at the entrance to a separately owned site, which already has approval for 70 homes. "The development will provide for new affordable housing within a development boundary ... and facilitate redevelopment of an area that until recently was occupied by lock-up garages of no design or townscape quality," said the director. Council leader Bob Myles described the Dungman's Tack scheme as a major boost for Montrose, adding: "This is an imaginative scheme in an area that is urban but not in use for housing at the moment. "I am particularly pleased with the use of the remote heating system and think that is the way we should be going in the future." Committee convener David Lumgair said the combined total would help ease the Angus social housing gap. "There is a great desire for affordable houses and I am very happy to see 45 in Montrose and the smaller development in Kirrie come about."

Parliamentarians plan appeal as they seek European court ruling on Brexit

February 9 2018

A group of parliamentarians plans to lodge a legal appeal in an attempt to secure a European court ruling on Brexit.The politicians believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally stop the UK leaving the EU if the final Brexit deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons.They want a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 can be halted by the UK on its own, without prior consent of the other 27 EU member states.The group took its fight to the Court of Session in Edinburgh but on Tuesday Judge Lord Doherty turned down a bid to have a full hearing on whether to refer the question to the Luxembourg Court, ruling the issue is  “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”.Now campaigners have announced plans to appeal against his ruling to the Inner House of the Court of Session.Two of the original group of seven have withdrawn – the SNP’s Joanna Cherry QC and Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine – while director of the Good Law Project, Jo Maugham QC, which has backed the crowdfunded legal action, has been added.The remaining five members are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, SNP MEP Alyn Smith and Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler.In a statement, Mr Maugham said they believe the judge’s decision was “flawed”.He added: “Establishing that, alongside the political route to revocability there is a legal route, is vital in the national interest.“If Parliament chooses not to withdraw the Article 50 notice then no harm is done by asking now the question whether it has that right.“But if Parliament does come to want to withdraw the notice, knowing it has the right to do so serves the national interest.“It improves the bargaining position of the UK, it ensures we retain the opt-outs and rebates that we presently enjoy, and it places the decision entirely in the hands of the UK’s Parliament and – if it chooses – its people.”Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the politicians, previously asked for the case to proceed through the Scottish court, arguing there was a genuine dispute between the two sides as to the proper interpretation of Article 50 which the court required to resolve.David Johnston QC, for the UK Government, insisted the application has no real prospect of success and that there was “no live issue” for the court to address.The policy of the UK Government is that the notification under Article 50 will not be withdrawn, he said.Finding in favour of the Government, Lord Doherty said: “Given that neither Parliament nor the Government has any wish to withdraw the notification, the central issue which the petitioners ask the court to decide – whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50(2) notification – is hypothetical and academic.“In those circumstances it is not a matter which this court, or the CJEU, require to adjudicate upon.”

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