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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...

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

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.

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

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.

Readers' letters

April 8: Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

April 8 2011

This morning's letters look at the River Tay beavers and wildlife management, taxation, fuel prices, and road safety in Fife. Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers Sir,-I read with interest your article 'Call for halt to beaver damage' (April 6) regarding the acceleration of beaver damage on the lower River Earn, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by an angler. As with other wildlife, most notably deer, whether the felled trees are viewed as damage or not is only really the concern of the landowner involved. SNH maintain that it is legal for landowners to kill or remove beavers if they deem it necessary so, officially, there is no problem here. If the landowner thinks he has a problem, SNH say he can do something about it. Others will dispute this and the legal position does require to be clarified. This is why the River Tay beavers are important. They will force us to address these issues much sooner than the official Scottish Government reintroduction of beavers into Argyll and everyone will benefit from that, whatever their views on beavers might be. There is little point in calling for a halt to the beaver damage as the Tay beavers do not read The Courier. What we need is a pragmatic approach from government to this issue which allows us to learn how these animals will interact with other land uses and provides landowners with a workable mechanism for dealing with problem situations. Ultimately, all our wildlife should be managed locally according to local circumstances and sensitivities, not by a centralised quango in Inverness. Scottish Natural Heritage are all over the place on this issue and do not have the answers. We will have to look elsewhere for those. Victor Clements.1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy. Victorian species cull Sir,-I agree in part with Eric McVicar's letter (April 5) about culling non-indigenous species but he shows a severe lack of knowledge in some areas. For example, beavers are a native species, as are bears and wolves. The absence of these animals is solely down to Victorian bloodlust, which saw the eradication of a vast number of species worldwide simply to amuse bored aristocrats. This has left us with a red deer population held on estates causing genetic diversity issues and out of control numbers, due to the lack of natural predators. I believe he is referring to Japanese knotweed, not Japanese hogweed. If Mr McVicar is a teacher then I fear for his pupils as he seems to be giving out wrong information and failing to teach them to check their facts. (Mr) J. Phillip.3 Lyninghills,Forfar. March of indirect taxation Sir,-Your editorial (April 5) and related article on the launch of the Scottish Conservative election manifesto for Holyrood misses an important fact. The fees or graduate contribution to the sum of £4000 is for every year of study. Parents and students can do the maths. Common sense it may be for Conservatives but, for those affected, it will feel very much like indirect taxation much favoured, as many of your readers will recall, by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s. Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans. Motorists need fuel transparency Sir,-We were conned in the Budget last month. The petrol companies had predicted the one penny reduction and had already upped the price by three or four pence. So is it now possible for the UK Government to do two specific things to regain some credibility? First tell the fuel retailers to instantly removed the ridiculous 0.99 they tag on at the end of their main price and, second, make it a rule to give the displayed price per gallon and not per litre. After all, cars in particular are sold with predicted miles per gallon consumption (admittedly often optimistic) not miles per litre. And if motorists were to see immediately the true cost of fuel for their car, instead of ridiculously having to multiply the litre price by 4.546 to find out, they would most certainly be more cautious with their travels and work a lot harder at reducing petrol/diesel consumption. Having been conned a few weeks ago, vehicle owners are surely entitled to some honesty now. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Wind farm risk to road users Sir,-I feel compelled to reply to your article regarding Fife's fatal road crashes. With 10 out of 13 fatal crashes in 2010 happening on rural roads, the most common contributory factor given in your article was failure to observe the road properly. My concerns are related to the plans submitted to Fife Council for the giant wind turbines on Clatto Hill. The road that runs adjacent to the proposed site is the C30. This rural road demands your full attention and concentration while driving in either direction. With the road being narrow, it requires even medium-sized cars to slow down or pull in when passing. The road has several vertical crests and sharp vertical curvatures which would make the turbines appear suddenly then disappear just as quickly. As this road has seen many accidents over a number of years, this would surely add another driving distraction to an already dangerous road. Norman Moodie.Craigview,Clatto Farm,Cupar. 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.

Lower fuel costs help profits at British Airways owner IAG take off

February 23 2018

British Airways owner IAG saw profits soar 15% in 2017 as the group benefited from a drop in fuel costs and strengthening economies in North and South America.The company reported pre-tax profits of 2.78 billion euros (£2.45 billion) for the year to December 31, up from 2.36 billion euros (£2.08 billion) a year earlier.That was amid a 1.8% rise in total revenues to 22.97 billion euros (£20.25 billion).IAG reaped the benefits of a 5.4% fall in total fuel costs thanks to lower average prices including applied hedges, as well as “efficiencies” from its new fleet and “improved operational procedures”.It added that the results reflected “a better macro-economic environment” with improvements in strategic markets including North America and South America.The group said it was demonstrating its confidence in IAG’s future by announcing plans for a 500 million euro (£441 million) share buyback over 2018, after proposing a final dividend of 14.5 cents per share (13p).IAG shares fell as much as 4.9%, making it the worst performer on the FTSE 100.George Salmon, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Cheap fuel and stronger economic growth have helped IAG fly with tailwinds over 2017.“However, neither of these factors are under IAG’s control, so to some extent, the group’s recent success has been a function of being in the right place at the right time. What investors will really crave is underlying improvements, not shots in the arm from favourable external factors.“The boost from cheaper oil will start unwinding from here on, so it would be great to see some meaningful progress made on non-fuel operating costs, which have so far ticked up broadly in line with the extra capacity added.”Revenues from its Aer Lingus airline rose 5.3% to 1.86 billion euros (£16.4 billion euros),  while Vueling increased 2.9% to 2.12 billion euros (£1.87 billion), and Iberia grew 5.8% to 4.85 billion euros (£4.28 billion).British Airways, meanwhile, reported a 7.2% rise in revenues to £12.27 billion. IAG acknowledged that, despite the strong financial results, British Airways faced major challenges earlier in the year when an extensive power failure caused travel chaos for tens of thousands of passengers.Compensation costs and baggage claims related to the disruption were bundled into its handling, catering and other operating costs, which rose 6.5% at constant currencies to 2.7 billion euros (£2.3 billion).“Improving the customer experience remains a key focus for the airline,” IAG said.IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “All our airlines performed extremely well with their best-ever individual financial results, strong operational performances and commitment to customer service.“The turnaround in Vueling, following the challenges of 2016, has been particularly outstanding.”IAG is now expecting a year-on-year increase in operating profit for 2018, with both passenger unit revenue and non-fuel unit costs expected to “improve” on a constant currency basis.

Readers' letters

What a price we pay for “democracy”

October 23 2014

Sir, It is not every Tuesday that some of us find ourselves in agreement with every word written by Jim Crumley, but this week he excelled in his article. The ruination of much of Britain, in particular Scotland, is quite appalling and his thin-edge-of-the-wedge argument over the ruination of Beauly is quite correct. Once the power line was allowed, against enormous opposition and a considerable number of accurate prophecies that this was only the beginning, we were doomed. Any sentient person is aware that Britain is going to run out of steam. The blatant refusal to think two decades ahead indicates the fatuousness of most political leaders. In the field of energy it will lead to disaster. The love of selling off the family silver to anybody, as long as they dwell and pay taxes abroad, has already wreaked irreparable damage to our economy. When any opposition to public vandalism is allowed to be heard, then it is dismissed as nimbyism. This is grossly unfair as the objections, all over Britain, are often very soundly based. When a local council dares to suggest the objectors may have a point and proceed to refuse planning applications it is almost invariably overruled by unelected officials in London or Edinburgh. What a price we pay for “democracy”! We have all the fuels for not only being self-sufficient in energy but having the ability to export it. The trouble is that the energy in question is carbon-based, but any exploration of this is thought by many to be even worse than questioning immigration policy. However, the technology is available, not only to use the carbon fuels but also to extract the toxics that are more than a potential worry. Oil companies ally with power suppliers to deny this. The Greens and other do-gooders loudly applaud from the sides. Again, the majority of us, who are not terribly rich, subsidise, through our taxes, the very, very rich, both at home and abroad. The current popularity of the SNP would suggest that whichever way we might have voted in the referendum most of us in Scotland are in one mind on the subject of preserving our heritage. Oh that a little sense and independent thinking might be found in more of our politicians. Robert Lightband. Clepington Court, Dundee. Looks like case of double standards Sir, What a difference a few months make. Last summer, Jose Manuel Barroso, the outgoing president of the European Commission, was hailed by unionists as the authoritative voice on an independent Scotland’s position in the EU. His word was gospel and unionists were quick to cite his opposition to an indepen-dent Scotland’s EU member-ship, as the final word. Fast forward a few months and Mr Barroso is now Johnny Foreigner, a jumped-up EU bureaucrat sticking his nose in the UK’s affairs. Unionists had the bare- faced cheek to cry fear and uncertainty over an indepen-dent Scotland, and now not a cheep from them over the uncertainty of the UK’s EU membership and all the risks to jobs and trade it will entail. Double standards springs to mind. RMF Brown. Markinch, Fife. It’s just money down the drain Sir, The SNP-dominated Scottish Government bought Prestwick Airport for £1 to save it from closure and pledged to invest £10 million into the airport, despite the previous owners losing £7 million a year. It is telling that no other companies were interested in buying it. In June, Nicola Sturgeon, then Deputy First Minister, announced a £7 million investment for repairs and improvements. Now Prestwick Airport is to be “loaned” another £10 million. Wait a minute, “loaned”, but the taxpayers already own this airport so when the plug is pulled then it is taxpayers’ money down the drain. Passenger flights at Prestwick Airport are as few as one a day so the airport has no future. By comparison the highly successful Glasgow Airport has 100 flights a day. I trust no more money will be ploughed into this politically motivated “white elephant”. The Prestwick Airport slogan “pure dead brilliant” was one-third correct the middle word. Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow. Nicola to head for Scone? Sir, Does the news that Nicola Sturgeon is to be endorsed as Alex Salmond’s successor at the SNP conference in Perth next month mean she will be nipping up the road to Scone to be crowned Queen Nicola? Robert T Smith. 30 Braeside Terrace, Aberdeen. Off the agenda? Oh really! Sir, In his letter, Time to face reality (Monday October 20), Dr John Cameron is being very presumptuous in suggesting “independence is off the agenda”. Presumably Dr Cameron was able to read the excellent accompanying letter from Ken Clark relating to last week’s Westminster debate on further powers for Scotland and suggesting that Scotland has perhaps been sold a “pig in a poke” by Messrs Brown et al. Whilst it is still early days, there is a groundswell of opinion suggesting that Westminster better deliver on its promises, in a realistic timescale, without conditions. If not, many who were borderline “no” voters, plus those who were persuaded by the late promises of more autonomy, may well become very disillusioned and start beating the drum again. As Tommy Sheridan said in his post referendum interview on BBC News: “The powerless realised they have power, we ain’t going back into the box.” Notwithstanding Mr Sheridan’s politics, his underlying sentiment will have struck a chord with many and those charged with delivering on their promises for the country should take note. Dr Cameron says: “It is time to face reality that independence is off the agenda.” Oh really! Keith Richardson. Melgund Burn, Aberlemno. Bags not the only problem Sir, Yes, one has to agree that plastic bags are a problem, but in the bigger picture just a “drop in the ocean”. When you look at the litter pollution problem where do they rate? When I cycle around the country roads there are more empty juice bottles, discarded coke tins, fag packets etc than plastic bags. Once again the establish-ment/politicians/do-gooders have come up with this “plastic bag drivel” and people are following like lambs to the slaughter and no doubt all giving praise and claiming to be nice people as they roll along in their carbon-fuel-guzzling pollution machines. Roy McIntosh. 9 Bankwell Road, Anstruther. The beach was left spotless Sir, An article and photograph in Monday’s Courier described the work of volunteers cleaning litter from the St Andrews beaches part of a UK-wide campaign to address this growing problem. I applaud the work done but I am saddened and appalled at the need for it. I holidayed recently at a French seaside resort with over a mile of sandy beaches. On Sunday the beach was packed with family picnickers etc. We did notice provision of showers, toilets and bins but in the evening expected to find the beach covered with litter and over- flowing bins. The beach and esplanade were spotless. Bins were full but covered and not spilling out. We found that people meticulously “binned” all their litter and cleaned up promptly after the many dogs exercised on the prom. What is wrong with people here that they can’t do likewise? Elizabeth Picton. 76 Hepburn Gardens, St Andrews.


Games jam played out well in Dundee

September 25 2016

Dundee  developers have come up with new virtual reality games in just 24 hours as part of a competition. A games jam took place from 4pm on Thursday until 4pm on Friday at Tag Games, resulting in games prototypes with names like Spider Spider, Mouse of Horrors and Terminal Station. The developers also created their own answer to the famous Boaty McBoatface, with a game titled Vanny McVanFace. Virtual reality, a form of technology that simulates a player's presence in a replica of a real environment, is said to be the future of games with some VR versions already present in many living rooms. Tag's marketing executive Gavin Moffat said: "At the games jam, staff split into four teams of four people - a designer, an artist and programmers. "They then had 24 hours to design a game prototype. "You would struggle to design a full game in that time, although it could be done if you're extremely good and the game is simple. "But with a prototype, you could then spend months perfecting and polishing it into a full game. "Some really great ideas can come out of these jam - you have to be creative and work fast. It was a great event. "This time the theme was virtual reality. Virtual reality headsets are already being used but it's difficult to say whether they'll become the default in gaming. "It could be the case that it's popular for a few years and then people get bored of it, or it could remain popular. "However, it certainly has great potential." Over the past 20 years Dundee has become an international hub for games developers with the world's biggest-selling video game - Grand Theft Auto - starting life in the city. Games jam are popular events where games developers get together to brainstorm ideas and create new prototypes within a short space of time.