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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...


Music guru’s new firm to help spearhead Dundee European Capital of Culture bid

June 2 2017

A Dundee public relations firm has teamed up with one of the music world's most successful publicists to drive forward the city's bid to become European Capital of Culture. MCPR Scotland has been created by the link-up between Dundee-based Patter PR and London firm MCPR, run by former Dundee man and city ambassador Murray Chalmers. MCPR's client list includes some of the biggest artists in the world, including Coldplay, Elton John, The Stone Roses, Kylie Minogue and Radiohead. He set up the company after years spent in Parlophone/EMI's marketing department. The new company, MCPR Scotland, will have its offices in the old City Chambers and its first client is the bid for Dundee to win the 2023 European Capital of Culture title. MCPR Scotland will work hand-in-hand with the MCPR office in London, using resources from a team of 15 staff and associates across projects for both companies. Patter PR's current client roster includes retained agency for Dundee's tourism campaign One City Many Discoveries, Dundee Design Festival alongside project work with V&A Dundee, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Highland Park whisky. Company founder Jennie Patterson said: "Blending my local knowledge and networks with the resources and contacts that Murray’s London-based company can provide is a completely new offer for Dundee. "I’m delighted to be setting up MCPR Scotland with Murray Chalmers, someone I’ve known and admired for many years. "Dundee’s long term vision to regenerate and revitalise the city to ensure it flourishes as a region where businesses want to operate and where people want to visit is paying off. "With the first V&A museum in the world outside of London opening in Dundee next year, the Tay City region is preparing to market itself to new audiences from home and abroad and MCPR Scotland has a significant role to play in that process." Murray Chalmers added: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with such an established, brilliant person as Jennie. "Dundee is my hometown and I feel evangelical about promoting it — so MCPR Scotland was an obvious expansion for my company. "MCPR in London and MCPR Scotland will work together to bring our integrated talents to a wide variety of new projects. "It’s about time that Dundee’s resurgence was reflected by a PR company who are local but truly international in reach and ambition. "Jennie, who has already shown so much of what can be done here, will now draw on resources from a team of 15 people, delivering truly outstanding campaigns for Dundee and for Scotland. MCPR Scotland is open for business in Dundee, a city we both love and want to see prosper as much as possible.”

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.

Farming news

Vintage tractor collection for sale in Fife

September 21 2016

If you’re hooked on vintage tractors there is only one place to be next month, when the auction of one of the biggest and most important collections in the UK takes place. The sale at Ceres will feature many iconic models from well-known brands collected by the late Murray Simpson, who died in April. Murray was well known in the farm machinery trade and vintage circles alike, and amassed his collection of 45 tractors over 35 years. There will also be vintage spares, implements old and new, literature and a large amount of John Deere (JD) spares from the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s from his time as a JD dealer. As a schoolboy in Auchtermuchty he watched mechanics repair Allis Chalmers Bs at McKendrick’s Low Road Garage, and as a teenager during the war at Central Motors in St Andrews he built International tractors out of crates after they arrived on Atlantic convoys. Work at James H Steele in Strathkinness saw him develop as an exceptional engineer and brought him into contact with Minneapolis Moline equipment. A healthy respect for the brand remained into his collecting days. In about 1953 he started on his own at Luthrie Station, carrying out farm machinery repairs and buying tractors to recondition and sell on. In 1956 Murray moved to the current site at Teases Mill at Ceres, and TM Simpson tractor service was born. Still the onus was on repairs and conversions using Perkins diesel engines, but sales of new equipment started with New Holland balers. A successful spell saw his firm sell Fordson Dextas for Harry K Brown, and a franchise for Case equipment began in the 1960s. In 1965 he began to sell John Deeres. When JD started in their own right in the UK in 1966 he was one of the first five dealers appointed, staying with the brand until recently when Deutz was taken on. A sizeable proportion of the collection is in restored condition, and the restorations carried out by Murray were very much top-drawer ground-up nut-and-bolt jobs where even the nuts and bolts had to be correct. Those not restored are very much in complete order as Murray had gathered up parts and had tinwork made as they waited their turn for restoration. Some of these tractors are in very good original condition and could be preserved for exhibition as they are. The earliest tractor is an unrestored Fordson F from the early 1920s. It is joined by a lovely straight water washer N, and what is thought to be the first Fordson Dexta sold by his business for Harry K Brown is another. Other British tractors include a David Brown VAK1, a Ferguson TEF and a very usable MF 35. The bulk is all American, with two restored Oliver 70s and unrestored 90 models, restored Case C, RC and two unrestored LAs. Marking his time with JD are restored unstyled A and G models, an early 1930s GP which was displayed at Mannheim, a styled B and three differing unrestored unstyled Bs. An electric D, L and 2120 models are also listed. Three trailing ploughs in varying states are also included. Allis Chalmers models include restored B and U models, a very rare model A that just needs painting, an earlier restored M and unrestored WC. His favourite was Minneapolis Moline, with a rebuilt KTA, restored ZTU and unrestored GTA models on offer along with an MM trailing plough. The firm’s extremely low-mileage Volvo F717 tractor unit from 1980 is included, as is a supply of TVO. The sale takes place on Saturday October 8 at 10.30.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Homeowner suffers burns after chip pan fire in Arbroath

May 22 2014

An Angus homeowner was left with minor burns after their chip pan caught fire in the kitchen of their Arbroath home. Fire crews were called to a property in Chalmer’s Street at around 4.30pm on Wednesday following a report of a fire in a deep fat fryer. The blaze was extinguished by crews using one CO2 extinguisher and two breathing apparatus.

Other sports

Marin Cilic suspended after testing positive for nikethamide stimulant

September 17 2013

Marin Cilic has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for a banned stimulant, ruling him out until February 1, the International Tennis Federation has announced. The Croatian’s doping violation came when he tested positive for nikethamide a stimulant at the BMW Open in Munich in May. The 24-year-old’s ban was backdated to May 1, the date on which he provided the sample, to end at midnight on January 31. The sample was sent to a laboratory in Montreal for analysis, where it was found to contain nikethamide, a prohibited substance. Cilic was subsequently charged over the doping violation under Article 2.1 although he argued the banned substance was in his system after taking Coramine glucose tablets that had been purchased for him from a pharmacy. A statement from the ITF read: “The independent tribunal found that Mr Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the Coramine glucose tablets, and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so, and that he, therefore, met the preconditions of article 10.4 of the programme, which entitles him to a reduction of the period of ineligibility for specified substance based on an assessment of his fault.” As well as the ban “it was also determined that Mr Cilic’s results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. “Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open, up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension, are also disqualified and the ranking points and prize money forfeited.” Following the BMW Open, Cilic was knocked out of the French Open in the third round by Viktor Troicki, who coincidentally was banned in July for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample. He then reached the final at Queen’s where he lost to Andy Murray before withdrawing from Wimbledon, where he was seeded 10th, prior to his second-round match.