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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

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.

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

Angus economic delegation putting Carnoustie Country to the fore at The Open

July 22 2017

A marketing drive is under way at Royal Birkdale to ensure Angus is the real winner at this week’s Open golf championship. Angus Council’s economic development team, in partnership with Carnoustie Golf Links and Visit Scotland, are putting Carnoustie Country to the fore ahead of welcoming The Open to Carnoustie in 2018. More than 225,000 people are expected at the global sporting event at Royal Birkdale in Liverpool where the team has been raising awareness of Carnoustie Country and the attractions of Angus. The week is being seen as a prime opportunity to capitalise on the tourism and economic benefits offered by The Open which could generate as much as £80m for Tayside. Alison Smith, Head of Economic Development at Angus Council said: “It’s been a fantastic first couple of days speaking with visitors to our stand at The Royal Birkdale. “With the R&A expecting record spectator numbers, this week is a prime opportunity to showcase the wealth of golf courses across Carnoustie Country and promote the wonderful local produce which we have brought with us for visitors to sample." Golf is a vital part of the visitor economy with the ripple effect felt in shops, hotels, restaurants and a wide variety of other businesses. Angus Council will also raise concerns about the possible introduction of a ‘no re-admissions’ policy at next year’s tournament in Carnoustie with The R&A. The golf authority will not allow people to leave the course and gain re-entry at this year’s championship as a result of security concerns. However, Carnoustie councillors and businesses are anxious that the Angus town sees a tourism boost from the thousands of visitors at next year’s tournament. Ms Smith added: “In addition to exhibiting at the event, we’ve scheduled a number of meetings to maximise the opportunities that hosting The Open brings. “We’re meeting with The R&A to align our digital marketing plans, explore legacy projects such as making the Carnoustie Open more ‘green’ and discuss the no re-admissions policy. “We’ve arranged meetings with Sefton Council’s head of tourism and England’s Golf Coast to inform our three-year marketing plan for pre, during and post event to maximise the increased global profile that The Open brings to the area." Carnoustie Country is home to 34 courses including many which were designed by the men who are now considered golf’s greatest architects – Old Tom Morris, Willie Park Jnr and James Braid.

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.

Dundee

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.

Dundee

Goggle into Scotland’s past with new list of old objects

July 21 2017

Snow goggles used by Captain Scott on his ill-fated voyage to Antarctica have been named as one of the objects which helped shape Scottish history. Scott's goggles, a simple design by today's standards which protected his eyes from snow glare and howling winds, have been named in the list of 25 objects which shaped Scotland by an expert panel. Other Courier Country antiquities made the list, with the Carpow Logboat and the Tom Morris Junior Medal also featuring. The Tom Morris medal sits in place at the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, and was awarded in place of the now-famous Claret Jug, which was still awaiting commission in 1872. The Carpow Logboat — which dates back to around 1000BC — was unearthed from the sand of the Tay Estuary in 2001 and now sits proudly in the Perth Museum and Art Gallery. The objects have been compiled into a new e-book, which details artefacts from across the country as part of Scotland's year of history, heritage and archaeology. Paul Jennings, RRS Discovery executive director, said: "It is brilliant that Captain Scott’s goggles have made this list. "The British National Geographical Antarctic Expedition in 1901-04 was ground-breaking and the equipment used during this epic adventure was designed to last. "RRS Discovery was built in Dundee, designed specifically for Antarctic research, the ship itself is of international significance, and a visit gives an insight into how these brave men coped in the harshest of conditions in one of the most inhospitable places on earth." Visit Scotland, who have curated the list, hopes museums and destinations where the objects are held will notice an increase in visitor numbers over the next 12 months, thanks to the e-book. Judy Chance, museum manager at the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, said they were delighted to have the Tom Morris Jr medal included. She said: "Tom Morris Jr was presented with this gold medal when he became Champion Golfer of the Year for the fourth time in 1872. "The Open is golf’s oldest championship. Played since 1860 on iconic links golf courses, it is the sport’s most international Major Championship. "The inclusion of the medal in the top 25 reflects the importance of golf in the fabric of Scotland’s rich culture. We are delighted to be able to present it for the public to view in the British Golf Museum." Other curiosities which made the list include Dolly the Sheep, the Robert the Bruce equestrian statue and Scotland's oldest football.

Golf

Tee to Green: Golf’s 20-20? Not quite…

September 20 2016

The European Tour have fanfared the future of golf. The World Super 6 Perth fair slips off the tongue and will revolutionise the game, or so the Tour’s outstanding media crew are telling us. Next February the rather mundane Perth International event, which has been chugging along unnoticed as part of the early season European Tour schedule with a prizefund of just over £1 million, will suddenly turn into an ultra-modern hi-tech Futurama of golf. For 54 holes, it’s going to look much the same. But on Sunday it’s going to be like we’re watching Star Trek. 24 leading players will play six-hole matchplay challenges with a “knockout hole” of Postage Stamp size to break any ties, and then sudden-death nearest the hole. One assumes if that doesn’t split them there will be a phaser duel. Rather than just being Western Australia’s annual modest contribution to the world of elite golf, The European Tour and Keith Pelley, their colourful chief executive, believe that some day all the sport will be played this way. Transparently, this is another stab by golf’s bigwigs to create a version of the game for those with the attention span of a goldfish. Golf needs its version of cricket’s 20-20 or rugby’s 7s Series, an abridged version to make it sexier and above all quicker for the hyperactive post-millenial generation. It’s easy, as I hope I have just demonstrated, to make some fun of this. It’s also easy to decry it. Golf’s top end, the PGA Tour, makes oodles of cash every year. There’s a small event next week, the Ryder Cup, which is so successful that it effectively payrolls the European Tour and the PGA of America. What needs fixed, say some? Well, a whole lot, really. Golf’s much too slow, much too conservative, much too elitist, and what’s happening in the game now is only entrenching it deeper within its own comfortable cul-de-sac. If the game is to properly thrive beyond corporate and country club America, presently its only area of growth (yes a lucrative one but far too narrow to be healthy) then it’s got to diversify at least a little. I do think golf does have to find its version of 20-20, which would co-exist quite happily alongside the traditional version like cricket’s. Only I’m pretty sure the World Super 6 as it stands is not it. I’m not sure it’s even as good as PowerPlay Golf, the last attempt at a golfing 20-20 back in 2008 which pretty much died on the vine. For a start, the first 54 holes of play would appear to be for nearly nothing. 24 guys qualifying for the final day Super 6 out of a field of 156 is not much at all, and I’d imagine a lot of players won’t like the odds. It’s not as if it’s going to be a stellar field in Perth anyway. This year’s winner Louis Oosthuizen was far and away the top name in the field and the World Ranking rating for the event was just 86 - the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour the same week was 446 by comparison. I’d imagine the format will create some drama on the last day but the relevance is surely highly dependent on who is playing. A 24 dominated by Australasian Tour players with no profile even on the European Tour isn’t going to win over the uncommitted. But at least they’re trying. I like the attitude of the players, who seem to be agreeing “yes, this is not perfect, but it’s a work in progress”. I much prefer that attitude to those who stick their heads in the sand and arrogantly declare that golf doesn’t need to change. Webb Simpson: the truth revealed Last week’s US wildcard presser was hilarious. Davis Love III verbally contorted himself to somehow not once mention Bubba Watson’s name as he was repeatedly questioned about the double Masters champion’s absence from the first three picks. The inference was that Bubba, a difficult character, was not going to be the fourth pick if they could help it. Then again, he went to the practice at Hazeltine this weekend so maybe it’s a smokescreen. Bubba’s unpopularity with his peers explains one of the greatest recent Ryder Cup mysteries, just why Tom Watson took Webb Simpson as a wildcard for Gleneagles. Reputedly it was because Simpson begged him by text, but it’s crystal clear why Webb was picked now. After Medinah, he was the only half-decent player who would agree to be Bubba’s partner. Tiger preparing for retirement? You can get decent odds on Tiger’s comeback stalling and him retiring by the end of 2016. In the meantime, he’s a busy bee preparing for life after Tour. The design portfolio is growing. He’s now running three events on the PGA Tour. And last week comes the rumour that he’s the front man for a consortium to buy TaylorMade, the most successful golf equipment company there is. Adidas have been shopping TM and their entire golf portfolio, minus their own brand clothing, for a year. There’s no losers here as I can see. The technician in Tiger will love the research and development aspect. And we keep his profile in the forefront of the game, where it should be.

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