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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Angus & The Mearns

Hunt for Angus father and son fugitives extends to Kenya

December 26 2016

People in Kenya have been urged to join the hunt for two fugitive Angus fraudsters who owe the taxman £109 million. Father and son Geoffrey and Gareth Johnson from Forfar have now fled from Tanzania to Kenya to slip back under the radar. HMRC and Interpol investigators remain one step behind Geoffrey, 72, and Gareth, 48, who went on the run before a £20m mobile phone fraud trial in 2014. In March this year the HMRC ordered the pair to pay back £109m of their ill-gotten gains or 14 years would be added to 10 and 12-year sentences imposed in their absence. International arrest warrants were issued, but they continued to hide out in plain sight in Tanzania while running a string of businesses. The Johnsons finally fled their African bolthole to neighbouring Kenya where Geoffrey is holed up in the coastal city of Mombasa while Gareth is in Nairobi. Sources suggest they are waiting for things to cool down so that they can establish themselves in Kenya as they did in Tanzania, where they led a luxury lifestyle. However, the pair have now made the news in Kenya where a news agency urged locals to contact the police if they see these “two white men”. Tuko journalist Abdikarim Hussein said Kenyans have been asked to report to the police if they see the wanted men. He said: “Gareth and Geoffrey Johnson are said to be hiding in Kenya after committing crimes in Scotland. “The father and son crime duo are said to have bought several bars and restaurants in Tanzania as they enjoyed a life of luxury and fun. “Gareth and Geoffrey after sensing arrest by the Tanzanian government fled to Kenya. “In Kenya, the men are said to be living the high life. “Kenyans have been urged to call the police if they see them around.” The family used to live in 10-bedroom Turin House in Forfar, which was recently bought for £1.2 million. The mansion sits in 21 acres and has a private pool. It was also home to Gareth’s fleet of cars included top-of-the-range Bentleys, Ferraris and Porsches. The pair were running a plant hire firm with 125 employees in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, where they owned developments, including clubs and restaurants. They left Dar-es-Salaam for Iringa 
and the business was abandoned with workers put on unspecified leave. They fled Iringa but angry locals were apparently just as keen to track them down. HMRC said it was continuing to work with domestic and international partners to confirm their whereabouts.

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.


The Choir star Gareth Malone to play Dundee

November 22 2017

Star of TV's The Choir, Gareth Malone, will perform in Dundee next year. The TV star, choirmaster and broadcaster is coming to the Caird Hall following the success of his 2017 tour. The Dundee show is one of only five dates the 42-year-old will play in Spring 2018. He will perform with The Swingles to give a new spin on much-loved songs. Fans of The Choir have also been promised that songs from the show will be played. Malone will also be showcasing new songs on his tour. Tickets are available from the Dundee Box Office now.

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.


Pair jailed after drugs squad officers chanced upon car park transfer

September 20 2012

A drugs courier who supplied narcotics with an illicit value of more than £55,000 has been jailed for four years and six months. Perth Sheriff Court heard how Scott Kirton (43), of Burngrange Park, West Calder, had met co-accused Kevin Malone (29), of Kellas Road, Dundee, in the car park of the Travelodge on the outskirts of Perth. Kirton and Malone were both charged with supplying 2001.5 grammes of the class 'B' drug M-cat, which had an illicit maximum value of £40,000. At court on Wednesday, both admitted that on October 14 last year at Broxden Services they were concerned in the supply of M-cat. Kirton pled guilty to a separate charge that on October 15 at his home address he was concerned in the supply of cocaine, a class A drug. The court heard the cocaine had an illicit maximum value of £15,650. Depute fiscal Catherine Fraser said: ''At 6pm on October 14 last year, two drug squad officers were at the car park at the Broxden services regarding another matter. They saw Kirton alone in a car. ''Twenty minutes later they saw Malone arrive at the car park and park beside Kirton.'' The court heard how the police officers saw the two men speak to each other and noticed Kirton retrieve an item from his car and go to Malone's car. Kirton was seen with a carrier bag, putting it back into his own vehicle. Ms Fraser said the drugs officers suspected a ''drugs handover'' was taking place and they spoke to Kirton in the back of their car. The court heard the officers searched Kirton's car and found £20,000 and two one kilo bags of drugs. Malone's house was searched the following day at 11.15am and officers found £5,900 and a mobile phone in his car. Police established he had been sending text messages to Kirton. Ms Fraser said a search warrant was then granted to raid Kirton's home and police found three bags of cocaine. Solicitor Mike Tavendale, for Kirton, said his client had formerly been a businessman who had ''fallen on hard times.'' ''My client's role in this was a courier and holder of drugs for his financial gain,'' he said. ''He went bankrupt and it was easy money to get involved in this. He succumbed to the drugs trade.'' Solicitor Ross Donnelly, for Malone, said: ''My client's role was a minor one.'' Sentencing Kirton, Sheriff Michael Fletcher said the value of the drugs was ''extremely high''. He added: ''You admitted two separate drugs charges that can only be dealt with by a custodial sentence.'' Malone was sentenced to 27 months in prison.


Fife army wife takes to the stage for round two with Gareth Malone

May 11 2018

A Fife army wife has been invited to sing on stage with renowned choirmaster Gareth Malone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hR6O7VxKaQ Samantha Stevenson has been hand picked by the Military Wives Choir patron to sing the number one hit Wherever You Are at the Caird Hall in Dundee on June 1. The concert will be the second time mum-of-two Samantha has teamed up with Malone, having earned a solo spot in the original choir in 2011. She told how she was “flabbergasted” when he phoned her last week and asked her to sing alongside him on her home soil. Samantha, 35, who lives in Leuchars but is originally from Perth, said: “I’ve kept in touch with Gareth over the years and he phoned me telling me he was coming to Dundee. “I said it was fabulous as it’s my neck of the woods and he said I must go watch the show. Then he said we were doing Wherever You Are and I said it was fantastic but it would be weird to see it performed. “And that’s when he said he would love me to come up and sing with them to do the solo. I was slightly flabbergasted. I’ve not sung this for practically about six years. “When he asked, the only thing that came into my head was I’ve got to practice. “I’m extremely excited and it’s a wonderful opportunity to have him conduct me again and to sing such a wonderful, emotional song again but in Dundee.” Samantha, who is now a member of the Leuchars Military Wives Choir, reminisced about previously performing the number one song. She said: “Back in 2011, Gareth wanted to do one of his choir series based around military wives and how they get on especially when their husbands are in Afghan. “Obviously a bit bunch of our men were out there at that time so it was extremely relevant. “All the way through the programme it was very exciting and we knew something big was going to happen for the end of the programme and then he announced that we would be singing at the Festival of Remembrance in front of the Queen, live on TV. “He enlisted the help of Paul Mellor who composed for the royal wedding and he wrote us a song based on our letters from our husbands and it was called Wherever You Are. “We had to do auditions and I was lucky enough to get the solo so we performed at the Albert Hall. “Then we were told we were going to London and we were going to record it as a single. “It sort of went slightly crazy and everyone was Military Wives mad. We were performing for the Prime Minister and singing at prestigious events.”