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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

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.

UK & World

#HomeToVote sees Irish people sharing their impressive journeys to the polls

May 24 2018

As thousands of Irish citizens living across the world return home to vote in the abortion referendum, many recorded their journeys on social media.Irish citizens will be voting on Friday on whether to repeal or keep the constitution’s eighth amendment.The amendment gives equal right to life for both the mother and unborn, effectively prohibiting abortion in most cases.Ireland’s voting system only allows postal votes from abroad in certain circumstances, so almost all of those eligible must travel back if they wish the cast their ballot.People eager to have their say from both sides of the debate have posted photos and comments ahead of Friday’s vote.Some came from as far as Sydney or Costa Rica.Still more are travelling from Europe.Many others hopped across the Irish Sea from the UK to make their voice heard.Others had assistance and support from their parents in their journey to vote Yes or No.Article 40.3.3, otherwise known as the Eighth Amendment, was voted into the constitution in 1983. Although abortion has always been illegal in the country, the 1983 referendum saw it enshrined in the constitution.It currently says: “The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”


Scottish teenager in Peruvian drug arrest

August 12 2013

A Scottish teenager and a nightclub hostess, who sparked a massive online campaign after she disappeared from the holiday island Ibiza, have turned up in police custody in Peru on suspicion of drug trafficking. Michaella McCollum Connolly, 20, from Belfast, was arrested in Lima on Tuesday along with Melissa Reid, 19, from East Dunbartonshire, while trying to board a flight to Madrid. The National Police of Peru said they found more than 24lb of cocaine thought to be worth around £1.5 million hidden in food in the luggage of the two women. Ms McCollum Connolly and Ms Reid were detained at the Jorge Chavez International airport as they tried to board a flight to Madrid, which was travelling on to Palma Mallorca, police in Peru said. They were stopped at the international airport’s Air Europa counter. Ms Reid’s family is reported to be in shock after learning about her arrest. Her father William, 66, from Lenzie, said: “We don’t know anything, we haven’t been told anything. We don’t have any new information. We are not in a position to elaborate. “We’re in the position where we are just trying to come to terms with it.” He said it was “too early” to say whether any of the family would travel to Peru. Ms McCollum Connolly was at the centre of a Facebook and online social media appeal, backed by Irish sports stars, desperately seeking information about her whereabouts over the past two weeks. Her distraught family said they had not heard anything from her in 12 days. The photography student had gone to San Antonio in Ibiza in June on a working holiday. She was looking for work as a dancer and nightclub hostess. Her family said she usually phoned home every two to three days and they became concerned when she had fallen out of contact. The Foreign Office in London confirmed it was helping a British national, while Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said it was also providing consular assistance to the family of an Irish woman being held in Peru on suspicion of drug trafficking offences. Ms McCollum Connolly holds an Irish passport.

UK & World

Irish stew on the menu as Harry and Meghan visit Belfast’s Crown Liquor Saloon

March 23 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry embraced the culture of Northern Ireland during a visit to one of Belfast’s most famous buildings – by sitting down to a traditional Irish pub lunch.The American actress and her fiance, on a whirlwind trip to the region, toured the Crown Liquor Saloon – a major tourist attraction in the city.Earlier, they received a rapturous welcome from thousands of young people when they visited the former Maze paramilitary prison outside Lisburn, where teenagers from both sides of the Irish border had gathered for a peace-building event.Ms Markle revealed that they had been anticipating their trip to the well-known Victorian gin palace, which is owned by the National Trust (NT) and famed for its ornate decorations.Harry joked with Heather McLachlan, the National Trust’s director for Northern Ireland, asking “Are you open?”, before declaring “We want food”.His fiancee added: “We saw the menu last week, and said ‘We’ll have this’.”The couple marvelled at the pub, which features period gas lighting, a red marble-topped bar, mosaic tiled floor and snugs – ornately carved wooden booths with stained glass where Victorian drinkers could sit in private.Looking up at the ornate ceiling, Harry said: “It’s amazing, it really is.”The antique bell system that drinkers used to call staff still exists and may have been used by the couple to order their lunch of Irish stew in a snug.Ms Markle looked stylish in a cream coat by Mackage, a dark green dress by Greta Constantine, a cream top by Victoria Beckham, tobacco heels by Jimmy Choo teamed with a tan-coloured Charlotte Elizabeth bag.

Readers' letters

Time for Labour councillors to accept blame

April 1 2016

Sir, - Fife Council’s mismanagement of the introduction of an IT system is unlikely to be the only large-scale project where taxpayers’ money has been squandered. Alex Rowley’s pet scheme to erect scores of wind turbines and save the council tens of millions of pounds seems to have been so much hot air. The money spent in consultants’ fees, screening applications, public consultations and officer time have been quietly written off. More disturbing still is the aversion of council leaders to addressing issues of accountability and responsibility. There is evidence of a culture of fear and intimidation within the council that prevents employees from taking action to stop mis-spending another example that springs to mind is the Kelty Community Centre, which is behind schedule and over budget. Senior Labour councillor Mark Hood dismissed attempts to apportion blame for the mismanagement of the IT system as “a witchhunt”. But who is to blame if it isn’t the very Labour councillors who took over Fife Council in 2012, signed the IT deal in 2013 and have overseen the project’s costs and vanishing savings since then? When Mark Hood and his colleagues are promising the moon, they expect the electorate to reward them at the ballot box. When they spectacularly fail to deliver, they cry foul and attempt to portray themselves as the victims. We are asked to believe the cuts to jobs and services Labour council leader David Ross has imposed are not Labour’s fault. At some point the voters will ask why on earth Messrs Rowley, Ross and Hood didn’t put their own house in order instead of asking the people of Fife to shoulder more pain. Linda Holt. Dreel House, Pittenweem. The truth of Irish independence Sir, - Is the Easter Rising in Dublin a century ago a cause for celebration or commemoration? I thought Alex Salmond attempted some balance in his article (March 28), but he was mistaken on two counts. Firstly, in the seven years after the Rising, Ireland’s experience was hellish. He mentioned the execution of the organisers and some of their supporters and the guerrilla war that led up to the peace treaty of 1921. He did not mention the murderous civil war that followed, in which more Irish men and women were killed than in the entire conflict up to then. He also mentioned “England” had failed to respond to Irish aspirations for more independence in the 19th Century, as if the problem rested with those south of the border alone. Anyone who knows anything about the history of the Emerald Isle knows Scottish influence, particularly in the north, has been significant. For decades after Ireland gained a semblance of independence, it was beset by a host of problems, including low growth, mass emigration, Church interference in civic policy, oppressive censorship and partition. Things changed after accession to Europe, as more liberal values emerged as the authorities responded to the needs of a more youthful population. That change is a cause for celebration. The violence that was at the centre of the Rising should be commemorated, but thankfully it seems to be a pointer to the past rather than the future. Bob Taylor. 24 Shiel Court, Glenrothes. Smartphones are the threat Sirs, - With the appalling attacks on Paris and Brussels recently, the police have asked the general public to be more vigilant of their surroundings and of potentially suspicious packages. I really doubt that this is going to happen, particularly in Britain. It seems people are surgically attached to their smartphones with their headphones on and many people go around looking constantly at a screen. In these difficult and threatening times is it not possible for people to occasionally look up and around at their surroundings, particularly when travelling or in a crowded place for the security of themselves and others around? While I am not disputing the usefulness of these devices in an emergency to gain information or let people know that they are safe, I am concerned that for too many it may be a dangerous distraction. Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth. Give us the truth First Minister Sir, - News that nearly two-thirds of parents in Scotland are unhappy with the named person scheme, according to a new poll, should come as no surprise. In this clumsy attempt by the government to apply their controlling instincts to families, they have again listened only to those who agree with them. But will the First Minister retract her attempt to assuage opponents of the named person scheme by incorrectly implying that it is not mandatory? Her odd phrasing in describing it as “an entitlement, not an obligation” flies in the face of her own government’s QC, saying in court there is no opt-out allowed. The legislation contains no provision for people choosing for their child not to have a named person. So was the First Minister being knowingly disingenuous or has she misunderstood what has been enacted? Keith Howell. White Moss, West Linton. Were Travellers told to move on? Sir, - I refer to your article about the South Links caravan park, Montrose, and residents getting “move on” notices from the council (March 28). Did the Travellers across the road get the same letter? That ground is not a caravan park for short, long or residential residence. Bob Pert. 15 Tayock Avenue, Montrose. Standing against oppression Sir, - In reply to David Robertson (Letters, March 26), in Ghana male homosexual relationships can result in up to three years’ imprisonment. Perhaps Mr Robertson thinks this perfectly reasonable, but I would hope, like Ruth Davidson, he regards it as an unjust oppression. If so, it is absurd for him to accuse Ms Davidson of racism and cultural imperialism for protesting against the ill-treatment of a group of people who are mostly black, regardless of whether her protest is likely to help. If jailing people for consensual adult gay sex is wrong, then Scottish law is more enlightened in this respect than Ghanaian law, and it is not arrogant to say so. If Ms Davidson had refused to show respect for a visiting Chinese politician to protest China’s persecution of Christians, would Mr Robertson have called her attitude racist or imperialistic? Robert Canning. Secular Scotland, 58a Broughton Street, Edinburgh. No opposition is a dictatorship Sir, - It is a political truism that it is impossible to have a democratic government without an effective opposition. What we have in Edinburgh, and to a lesser extent in Westminster, is basically a dictatorship where we have here in charge a young lady who is currently learning to run a household for the first time albeit using our tax money trying to convince us she is qualified in any way to run Scotland. I think not. The reason the SNP got so many votes was not because anyone thought their campaign was any use. To my mind it was because George Osborne came to Glasgow and issued threats about our currency. Someone should have told him that we use the United Kingdom pound sterling, and it is not his to interfere with. The Daily Telegraph has stated that 100% of MSPs are cheating on expenses. At the next Scottish elections vote them out, and at the European referendum let us have our country back. I do not consider it to be a good deal to have paid income tax and National Insurance contributions constantly since 1960 to be bailing out European countries whose national sport is not paying taxes. T Fowler. 1 Jubilee Court, Letham.