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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...

UK & World

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.


High hopes after ‘bedroom tax’ tribunal hearing

September 19 2014

Campaigners against the so-called bedroom tax remain optimistic following a tribunal hearing in Edinburgh. Glenrothes man David Nelson, who won a landmark test case against the ending of the spare room subsidy, said he was awaiting a verdict from officials after the initial ruling was contested by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Last year’s verdict, which declared that size does matter when it comes to defining a bedroom, made national headlines following the huge controversy surrounding the implementation of the spare room levy. Despite the DWP’s efforts to overturn QC Simon Collin’s decision, Mr Nelson said he remained confident. About 75,000 Scottish households are affected by the policy that resulted in people with one spare room having their housing benefit cut by 1% and those with two or more facing a 25% reduction in benefit. Mr Collins ruled that a room measuring less than 50 sq ft is not a bedroom and a room measuring between 50 and 70 can only be used by a child under 10. The DWP contends that a room is a bedroom if it can accommodate a bed. If the DWP’s appeal fails, it could see the scrapping of the policy altogether.

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

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


Fife artists up for Scottish Album of the Year

May 15 2014

Two celebrated Fife artists have made it on to the Scottish Music Industry Association’s longlist for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award. Kid Canaveral from St Andrews and Beat Band co-founder Steve Mason, originally from Fife but now living in London, have made it on to the list alongside the likes of Edwyn Collins and former T in the Park headliners Biffy Clyro. Kid Canaveral said: “Given the quality of the albums that have been nominated in the past, we are delighted to be selected this year. Taps aff!” Steve Mason said: “Having never won an award for any music I have made, it’s a great privilege to be considered for the SAY Award. “It would be amazing if the only award I ever won for music came from the country of my birth.” The list shows the abundance of music released between January and December 2013. See more at www.smia.org.uk.

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.

Perth & Kinross

Woman cyclist suffered “life changing injuries” following collision with dog in Highland Perthshire

March 10 2016

A woman suffered horrendous injuries after colliding with a dog on a rural Highland Perthshire road, a court has heard. Elaine Sandison was cycling at Bridge of Gaur, near Loch Rannoch, when a chocolate brown labrador came “from nowhere”. The resultant collision left the 47-year-old with what were described in court as “life-changing” injuries. She required a shoulder replacement after it was broken in five places. Mrs Sandison also suffered a broken jaw, five broken teeth and a gash on her chin that had to be glued shut. She is pursuing a claim for injuries and damages against the dog owner, Thomas Coope of Port Askaig, for the incident on July 11 2010. Perth Sheriff Court heard Mrs Sandison was training for the Etape Caledonia cycle event with Colin Howard, 40, a cyclist with around 20 years’ experience who held a British Cycling coaching qualification. Two dogs owned by Mr Coope, who was on a fishing trip with friends, ran into the road. The dogs were not restrained and Mrs Sandison and Mr Howard would both have been travelling at around 18-20mph, but neither had sight of the dogs until “they were upon them”. Mr Coope shouted “dogs” and Mr Howard managed to avoid hitting them but Mrs Sandison collided with one and lost control of her bike. Sheriff William Wood concluded that 70% liability for the accident lay with Mr Coope and 30% lay with Mrs Sandison. He stated: “The primary cause of the collision was that Mr Coope failed to take appropriate steps to control his dogs. But Mrs Sandison failed to moderate her speed and be aware of potential hazards around a blind corner.” The court heard that Mrs Sandison, from Paisley, fell following the collision and was held on to her bike by her cleats. Another hearing will take place on April 20 due to Mrs Sandison recently undergoing medical treatment.

Metal pin flown on Apollo 11 spaceflight up for auction

January 24 2018

A metal pin flown on the Apollo 11 spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon is expected to fetch up to £8,000 at auction.Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made history when they landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20 in 1969.Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface, with Aldrin joining him about 20 minutes later.As he stepped on the moon, Armstrong said: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”They were outside the spacecraft together for almost two hours and collected lunar material to bring back to Earth.The astronauts spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the moon’s surface before returning to the command module Columbia, which had been piloted by Michael Collins.The yellow metal lapel or tie pin, featuring the Apollo 11 mission insignia, was flown on the mission for Nasa engineer HW Adkins.It includes a laminated card featuring the Apollo 11 emblem above text reading: “Flown for—H. W. Adkins”, with the reverse stating: “This tie tack was flown on Apollo 11, S/C 107, LM-5, July 16-24, 1969, Crew, Mr. N. Armstrong, Lt. Col. M. Collins, Col. E. Aldrin, Jr.”Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Alridge and Son, described the pin as “an incredible piece of history”.“It’s a tangible link to the most famous space mission ever and one of the most important events in the history of humankind,” he said.“It is remarkable to think it was actually onboard Apollo 11.”Other items up for sale at the auction house in Devizes, Wiltshire, include an Apollo 13 lunar module flown stowage assembly strap.The strap, taken from the stowage assembly that flew aboard the Apollo 13 lunar module Aquarius, is expected to fetch up to £5,000 at auction.Autographs of Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins are also for sale at the auction on Saturday along with a piece of lunar rock.