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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

UK & World

This rescued kangaroo just wants to cuddle

November 28 2016

Meet the kangaroo who will make you want to pack your bags and book the next flight to Australia. Abigail – the kangaroo who loves to hug – is possibly the most affectionate animal you’ll ever set your eyes on. It seems she insists on showing her love for her keepers every morning during feeding time, earning her the nickname “Queen Abi”. “She can’t have the morning go by without coming up for a cuddle,” her keepers say. “It’s just who she is and how she stands out from the others is her affection towards us.” When she arrived at the Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs, Abi was just a five-month-old baby. She was rescued as a baby orphan 10 years ago and raised by the caring staff at the sanctuary. It appears the roo’s cuddling ritual has been going on for years… Kangaroo hugs and kisses are the best!… – The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs | Facebook Awwwwwwwwwww.


Giant kangaroo’s leap for freedom put the wind up air traffic controllers

August 24 2011

A giant inflatable balloon featuring a kangaroo sparked a warning over Dundee amid fears that planes from the city’s airport and RAF Leuchars could collide with it. Dundee Airport alerted the police and MoD chiefs when a giant yellow blimp adorned with an image of the leaping beast left its moorings and floated into their airspace. The balloon was tethered at Kangaroo Self Storage on East Dock Street but made an unexpected and possibly wind-assisted escape bid last month. Air traffic controllers were worried that the inflatable could pose a threat to passenger and military planes and contacted the authorities to warn them. No sooner was the warning sounded than the kangaroo disappeared into the distance. An RAF Leuchars spokesman said the Fife base was contacted by Dundee air traffic controllers after the kangaroo made its jump for freedom early on a Thursday morning. A spokeswoman for Highlands and Islands Airports, which operates Dundee Airport, said: “An inflatable kangaroo was reported missing and as it could have been a potential hazard we informed all local aircraft in the area, called nearby stations and informed the police. “No further sightings or incidents were reported.” A Tayside Police spokeswoman said that they had been called about the giant floating marsupial but said airport staff were left to deal with the problem.

UK & World

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

February 21 2018

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

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

UK & World

This adorable baby kangaroo just popped its head out of its mum’s pouch for the first time

April 12 2018

A tiny baby kangaroo has just popped its head out of its mum’s pouch at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.The little one, a Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, was born in September 2017 but keepers have only just spotted its head with mother Kwikila in the trees.This is Kwikila’s second joey, though they don’t yet know whether it is male or female. The tree kangaroo is native to Papua New Guinea, and is adapted for life in the trees with special paws perfect for climbing.The joey’s birth is a boon for the species as encroaching human activity has left them classified as endangered.Habitat destruction caused by humans means more than 50% of wild populations of tree kangaroo have been lost over the course of three generations.The new joey is part of a global breeding conservation programme for the species, and raises the population in the scheme to 52. “This is the second tree kangaroo joey born at Taronga Zoo Sydney in 24 years, which is wonderful news,” said keeper Sam Bennett. “Keepers have occasionally seen a leg or tail pop out since then, but now the joey is starting to take a more active interest in the world outside the pouch.”

UK & World

Australian minister felled by a kangaroo

May 16 2013

An Australian politician taking his morning jog in the capital Canberra has come off second best after crossing a kangaroo. Shane Rattenbury, was only seconds away from a collision as he pounded the pavement when he saw the eastern grey kangaroo at the end of a hedge grazing on a front lawn. Mr Rattenbury says the 4ft 7in (1.4-metre) kangaroo knocked him to the ground, the claws of its powerful hind legs drawing blood with two scratches to his left leg. His right leg was painfully bruised by the fall. He says the roo “was last seen hopping off into the distance quite comfortably”. “We both got a nasty fright, and of course when kangaroos are startled, they lash out,” 41-year-old Mr Rattenbury said. “As the kangaroo sought to escape, it landed on me, and its claws dug into my leg.” Mr Rattenbury is a minister in the Australian Capital Territory government, which administers the city of Canberra.

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

January 19: Energy companies have too much of an advantage

January 19 2012

Today’s letters to The Courier. Sir, Something needs to be done about energy companies. They have too much advantage over customers. Customers can be exploited. The structures of deals need to be simpler. The products should be one charge for the purchase, instead of a tier system. When they offer to sell their products they should declare the price they are selling the products for, instead of asking what price you are paying to some other company. If I go into a shop, the price of a product is declared. When a company wants your custom they offer a fixed deal, which appears good, but they do not declare the price of their units. When the fixed deal is finished they do not inform you that you have been put on a different deal. A Hydro Electric salesman arranged a deal for me and when I received the contract it was a different deal, which was to my disadvantage. ScottishPower put me on a deal after my fixed one was finished, without informing me what my options were. It is difficult ‘over the phone’ to keep everything in one’s mind that is being conveyed for a deal. Companies should send written account of deals for prospective customers, so that such can be studied before a decision is made, and also comparisons can be made with other offers. There needs to a resource for customers where advice about what energy companies are offering is available, so that customers are able to work out what is the best deal available. Charles Knox.61 Demondale Road,Arbroath. Fares concern for city council Sir, Neil Kennedy’s letter, ‘It’s little wonder there are fewer passengers’, draws attention to what must be a very important factor in the decline of passengers through Dundee Airport the airlines’ pricing policies. It is a situation which must concern the city council, the Chamber of Commerce and the airport operator. Mr Kennedy drew attention to the difference in fares on CityJet flights between London City to Edinburgh and London City to Dundee. Using Dundee Airport costs twice as much. CityJet is not alone. FlyBe has been advertising a January Sale offering Belfast City to Dundee fares at £40.99 and Belfast City to Edinburgh fares at £26.99. As ‘FlyBe planes fly’, there can’t be much difference in the distances involved! David Tennant.Cambustay Gardens,Dundee. No surprise numbers down Sir, I read your recent article with interest as I am a frequent flyer from Dundee to London City Airport. It came as no surprise to me that passenger numbers are down as since Air France/CityJet took over Scotairways they have consistently reduced the service both in terms of numbers and times of flights. In particular there is no longer an option to be in London for a 09:30 appointment (a flight which was used by the NHS in particular). In addition, whilst booking in advance can produce reasonable fares, if required to book at short notice, as I often am, the cost is prohibitive and they appear not to realise that it is not practical to pay over £400 to fly from Dundee when you can fly from Edinburgh for less than half of that including parking etc. For example, I was quoted just over £400 to fly down next week but I am going first class by train for slightly more than half of the cost. I am losing half a day by doing so but this is compensated for by virtue of being able to work comfortably on the journey including free broadband. It is also interesting to note that the website shows ”last few seats available” when the reality is that the plane will be half full at best. Brian Jakobsen.2 Balmyle Road,Broughty Ferry,Dundee. Overruled by kangaroo court Sir, After the ruling from the General Teaching council of Scotland in relation to former teacher Mike Barile, I have to ask if there is any other democratic country which allows the Court of Law to be overruled by what is nothing more than a kangaroo court. Mr Barile was given an absolute discharge from the Scottish Court of Appeal yet the GTC decided not to accept the ruling of law but instead set up their own trial of Mr Barile. This sounds very much like the days of the Witchfinder General. I believe that Mr Barile has moved on with his life and found alternative employment away from teaching therefore I can see no reason whatsoever for the GTC to have continued with this charade unless for personal reasons, thereby the outcome was decided before the hearing began. Perhaps the GTC can tell us how much this witch hunt has cost the tax payer and when it will be taking the same action against the incompetent teachers who are presently failing our children in the class room. Allan Petrie.109 Blacklock Crescent,Dundee. A very simple, sensible question Sir, In an effort to get away from all the bickering that has been going on over the question of Scotland separating from the UK here is a simple and sensible question. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is based in Swansea and TV Licensing is based in Bristol. Where would the separate Scottish equivalents be based, how many additional civil servants would be required to run them and what would the setup costs be to the Scottish taxpayer? Donald Gatt.17 Land Street,Rothes, Moray. 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.