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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

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.

UK & World

Bloodhound car to attempt land speed record next year

May 16 2018

A British car will attempt to break the land speed record in 2019 following a funding breakthrough.Bloodhound SSC is being designed to reach 1,000mph in South Africa in October or November next year.The Bristol-based development team said there is a “very real prospect that our ability to raise funds is about to be transformed” due to discussions with a “major third party”.This has led to a reduction in the delay between high-speed tests and the first record attempt.Bloodhound will be flown to Northern Cape, South Africa in May 2019 for testing on a dry bed race track at Hakskeen Pan. It will now stay in the country for the record attempt later in the year.Development of a rocket required to break the record will resume in August, with tests taking place at Newquay Aerohub, scene of the car’s 200mph runs in October.The car has been described as a combination of a fighter jet, a Formula One car and a spaceship, and is driven by ex-RAF fighter pilot Andy Green.He was the driver of the Thrust SSC team as it set the current record of 763mph in 1997.

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

Are 20mph zones hampering fight to stigmatise speeding?

July 8 2017

Could 20mph zones be undermining the fight against speeding? According to a new study, progress on making speeding as socially unacceptable as drink driving is being slowed down by confusion surrounding 20mph speed limits. A survey of 2,000 motorists conducted by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart found that 96% of drivers believe drink driving to be socially unacceptable. Despite this, recent statistics from the Department of Transport saw 81% of cars exceeding 20mph speed limits on a regular basis. Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “The main problem is clearly getting drivers to comply on the ever increasing number of roads in our towns and cities with a 20mph limit. “IAM RoadSmart have always felt that blanket 20mph limits, enforced by signposts only, are simply not enough to convey the reason for slowing down to drivers. “Targeting the worst locations with traffic calming and other engineering features is a much more effective way to make 20mph limits self-enforcing. Speed limits on roads with consistent compliance problems need to be reviewed more frequently. Speeds across most roads have fallen since 2011. However, speeding was a factor in 15% of all fatal road crashes in 2016 – 5,350 incidents in all – though this was lower than the 2015 figure. Greig added: “It’s really good news for road safety that the roads with the highest speed compliance are actually our most dangerous - 60mph rural single carriageways. “Recent government, police and road safety charity campaigns have highlighted this issue and it does appear that the message is getting through.” “We must all work to make it easy to stick to the speed limit and our main concern is that widespread confusion over 20mph may be undermining a more general trend to slow down.” jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

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.


Speed limits set to be slashed across Dundee

June 3 2016

Dundee residents have just under four weeks left to have their say on proposals to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on hundreds of residential streets. The City Council launched one of its biggest-ever consultation exercises on the proposals last November. It would see speed limits cut to 20mph across large swathes of the city. Principal roads such as Perth Road, the Kingsway, Lochee Road and the A92 Tay Road Bridge would be unaffected. But hundreds of other streets could see the speed limits slashed if the council presses ahead with the plans, including Forth Crescent in Menzieshill and Buttar's Loan. The consultation closes on June 30. The local authority will then analyse the responses before councillors are asked to vote on the changes. Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee said: "This is one of the longest running and thorough consultation exercises that we have ever undertaken because we recognise the importance of the issues involved. "It is also clear from the informal feedback I've had that road safety and the volume and speed of traffic are hot topics in neighbourhoods throughout Dundee. "We want to hear what people have to say and take into account their opinions when we make decisions about the future of the roads network in Dundee, so I would strongly encourage everyone to visit our website to make their voices heard. "Anyone who wants to take part should go to www.dundeecity.gov.uk/20mphconsultation before June 30. There are already a number of 20mph streets in Dundee and in February the new, lower speed limits were also introduced in Mill o' Mains, Harestane Road and the new Western Gateway housing development. Safety campaign groups such as the charity Brake have long advocated the introduction of lower speed limits and said it is "wholeheartedly" behind the City Council's plans. A driver can bring a car travelling at 20mph to a halt in 12 metres compared to the 23 metres it takes travelling at 30mph. And if someone is hit by a car travelling at 20mph there it a 10% chance they will be killed, compared to a 50% chance if the car is moving at 30mph. Brake spokesman Dave Nichols said: “Everybody has the right to walk or cycle to school, to work, or around their local community without fear of being knocked down by fast traffic. "That’s why Brake works with communities across the country to help them achieve road safety improvements in their area, and we are wholeheartedly behind plans to introduce 20mph speed limits throughout Dundee. "Widespread 20mph limits are a proven way to reduce casualties, particularly among more vulnerable road users. "As part of the GO20 campaign, Brake is calling for the national urban default speed limit to be reduced to 20mph. "This would remove administrative and financial barriers for local authorities such as Dundee City Council, and end the current lottery whereby your postcode dictates whether you benefit or not.”

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

The fastest Beetle

September 21 2016

A Volkswagen Beetle has broken the 200mph mark. It’s the fastest speed ever recorded in the car – whose creation was famously ordered by Hitler – and was set at the World of Speed event at Lake Bonneville in Utah. The Volkswagen Beetle LSR is a factory-modified car which was recorded at a record 205mph at Bonneville’s Salt Flats. LSR stands for Land Speed Record, so there’s no questioning the motive behind the car. Thanks to Land Speed regulations, there’s only a certain amount of modification allowed for the car to still qualify as a Beetle – so more features of the standard car have been retained than you might think. It has the same 2.0 litre petrol engine as production models, albeit fettled to deliver a hefty 543bhp...

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.