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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…

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.

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

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

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. Audi TT RS Coupé. 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.


Formula milk removed from Dundee shop after baby became sick

February 1 2017

A Dundee shop has taken a batch of formula milk off the shelves  as a precaution following a complaint from a customer whose baby was allegedly made ill by the “curdled” liquid. Lorraine Scrimgeour, 34, purchased Cow & Gate first stage from birth milk at Babies R Us, Kingsway West, to give to her daughter Amy. Shortly afterwards the 14-week-old was said to have become sick with an upset stomach, leading Lorraine to take a closer look at the milk. The mother-of-two, from Douglas, then noticed the product was “curdled” and had a “strong smell” despite still being in date. The offending sample of milk that was said to have made baby Amy sick. Cow & Gate are investigating the complaint after Lorraine sent a sample of the milk for testing and a spokeswoman confirmed it was an “isolated complaint” rather than an issue with the rest of the batch. Lorraine said: “I didn’t notice that the milk was curdled straight away. It comes ready-made in a bottle, and you pour it into another bottle to give to the baby. “Amy kept pushing it away but in the end she drank a couple of inches of it. “My friend, who took over her feed, then saw it was curdled and that’s why she must have kept rejecting it. Shortly after that she got a very upset stomach, which is unusual for her. She cried for 25 minutes straight. “I had to take her to the out-of-hours doctor to be checked over and luckily she was OK in the end, but it was a scare for me. “I took the milk back to the shop and was offered a refund, which was fine but I’ve been put off buying this product again. “I wouldn’t want this to happen again to my daughter, or to anyone else’s baby. I’m now waiting on answers from Cow & Gate.” A spokeswoman for the company confirmed a call had been made to their consumer team, who reassured Lorraine it was not a batch issue and advised her to send the sample away for testing. It is currently with the city’s environmental health officers, who will forward it to Cow & Gate. The spokeswoman added the issue could have been caused by a faulty seal but a more definitive answer will be sought. The remaining stock has been removed from the Babies R Us branch.


“Lovely” Lorraine surprise for TV favourite Timmy Mallett

April 3 2018

Lorraine Kelly flew out to give support to children’s TV legend Timmy Mallett on an emotional cycle tour in memory of his brother. The Mallett’s Mallet presenter-turned-artist is undertaking a 2,000km cycling adventure from Maidenhead to Spain along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. It’s a hugely emotional journey for the popular entertainer who embarked on the six-week trip to Santiago shortly after his beloved brother Martin was laid to rest in Aberdeen following his death at the age of 64. Timmy is taking part in the cycle to raise awareness for mental health and how people can realise their potential just like Martin who was born with Down’s syndrome. Lorraine and her husband Steve surprised Timmy in Saintes in France with a visit which was described as a “magical moment” by the 62-year-old. He said: “I was having a cuppa in Saintes in a rare moment of sunshine when who should come up and tap me on the shoulder? “Steve my Wacaday cameraman and wonderful cycling pal and lovely Lorraine Kelly. “Such moments seem easy and ordinary but they are not. “This was the best thing ever. “Friends are what make the world so special. “I’m so grateful I have them.” Lorraine said she was “so proud” that her former breakfast TV colleague was “doing this for Martin”. Timmy and Lorraine worked together on TV-am in the 1980s on ITV and Lorraine’s husband Steve was Timmy’s cameraman on his kids TV show Wacaday. Timmy and Steve cycle together and have been regular visitors to Courier Country over the years where Timmy has used Tayside as inspiration for his artwork. “Martin passed away at the start of March,” said Timmy. “I am carrying him in my heart, and his name tags in my pocket to remind me every day that all I have to do is be the best Timmy I can be.” “Despite Down’s syndrome, dementia and learning difficulties, Martin never ceased to make the most of every day.” The Camino de Santiago – or the Way of St James – was first taken in the Middle Ages, when King Alfonso II heard that the holy remains of the apostle St James had been discovered, and travelled west from his court in Oviedo to Galicia to confirm it. He ordered a basilica to be built to house the remains in Santiago de Compostela, and that cathedral became a shrine, with Catholics flocking from across Europe to pay their respects – and to cut down on the time they’d spend in purgatory after death.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.


History repeating itself is good news for Marie Curie charity

April 9 2018

A UK charity kickstarted 70 years ago by the gift of a diamond ring will benefit from a unique commission thanks to a Dundee jeweller. Lorraine Law contacted Marie Curie, the charity that provides free professional nursing care to terminally ill people at home, after realising she could help commemorate its 70th anniversary by finding a way to make history repeat itself. The charity was founded on the proceeds of a donated engagement ring in 1948. Marie Curie patron Petra McMillan is appealing to Courier readers to donate any odd, unwanted pieces of gold or silver that Lorraine might melt down and fashion into a new gold or silver pendant which will then be auctioned or sold for the benefit of the charity’s community nursing service across the NHS Tayside area. Petra said: “We’re not asking people to part with high value items or pieces they hold dear — it’s the broken necklace, odd earring, spare butterflies - the kind of thing many of us have lurking at the bottom of our jewellery box. “Lorraine can breathe new life into the metal and create something wonderful and unique which will then help us raise vital funds to support our nurses working in our own communities.” Contemporary jeweller, Lorraine has been in business for almost 20 years. Trading from her shop in Dundee's Union Street, she is well known for handcrafting one-off pieces, in particular, contemporary heart-shaped pendants. However, it may be that Marie Curie’s iconic daffodil is chosen for this particular work of art. Lorraine said: ”I’ll just have to see what we get, I’m open to different ideas - it’s an exciting process and something I wanted to do for personal reasons but also because the Marie Curie anniversary and story of the ring struck a chord with me.” Established on July 6, 1948, the Marie Curie International Memorial received a diamond engagement ring, donated by Mrs Alice Macpherson, as it’s first gift. It sold for £75 - around £2000 in today’s money. In the 70 years since then, Marie Curie has grown to become the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness, including cancer. It employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and with its nine hospices around the UK including Edinburgh and Glasgow, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS. Typically best known for their overnight service from 10 pm to 7am, when a Marie Curie nurse is with an individual, the family can rest and recover, knowing their loved one is safe and well cared for. Depending on what is donated Lorraine may make an entirely silver piece, a gold pendant or even include precious stones if they turn up in the "harvest". Usually such a piece would cost in the region of £400 to £2000. With just one hour of Marie Curie nursing care "costing" £20, Petra is hopeful the golden opportunity might make a real difference to local families this spring. “We are very grateful to Lorraine for her generosity in donating her time and skills to us and we very much hope Courier readers will get behind our appeal and help us make something beautiful to help those in our own communities who most need our support at the end of life.” Anyone looking to donate jewellery can do so either at Lorraine Law’s shop in Dundee city centre or at Jessie’s Kitchen in Broughty Ferry. The appeal will close on April 30.