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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

91-year-old suffered ‘horrific injuries’ in shopping bag robbery

March 28 2018

A 91-year-old man suffered “horrific injuries” when he was robbed at his home for a shopping bag of food, a court has heard.Michael Parker, 56, pushed Frederick Rymell from behind, then punched him in the face before making off with goods worth around £100 in west London.The victim was left at his front door with bruises to his eye, face and right arm as well as bleeding under the skin.Prosecutor Ruxana Nasser said they were “horrific injuries for a man of that age” adding that he was left “terribly shaken” and feeling “extremely vulnerable”.In a victim impact statement, Mr Rymell said: “The incident has frightened me. I’m surprised someone can even do that to me, or anybody.”Parker, who has a string of convictions dating back to 1978, pleaded guilty to a single count of robbery on February 27 this year at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday.Judge Robin Johnson adjourned sentencing to April 25, warning Parker to “expect a very substantial prison sentence”.He said: “Bearing in mind the age of the victim and the shocking circumstances of this offence, I feel it is in the interest of justice for him (Parker) to be assessed for dangerousness.”The court heard said the victim had just returned home from shopping in Hayes, west London, when Parker struck.“He opened his front door, he carried his shopping inside,” said the prosecutor.“He has just gone inside the house, he was then pushed from behind by Parker.”The court heard Parker demanded: “Where’s the money, where’s your purse?”“Mr Rymell has then been punched in the eye by the defendant, who took one of Mr Rymell’s khaki shopping bags full of food – the shopping was £100,” said Ms Nasser.

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.

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch timepiece sells out in three days

December 21 2013

A commerorative Black Watch timepiece created to help raise funds for veterans has sold out in just three days after being featured in The Courier. The limited-edition piece was created by master watchmaker Robin Devine and features the historic regiment’s badge and tartan. It honours squaddies from what is now known as the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS). Robin, of Toronto-based Time is Ticking, said the entire stock was snapped up by former Black Watch soldiers from around the globe. To keep up with demand Robin has been working until 4am packaging and posting all 70 of the timepieces herself. Robin attributed demand to an article which featured in The Courier last month. She said: “The watches only sold because of The Courier article that is an absolute fact. “People sent out the article all over the world. People were calling Toronto all day from the time the article came out until the watches had been sold.” Robin said many buyers told her of their memories of serving in the regiment, which dates from 1739. “The people in Scotland had such wonderful stories to tell about how much the watch meant to them,” said Robin. “There were some elderly veterans who had never used a credit card and for them to call Toronto to a far off country and to someone they didn’t know really tells you how important the watch was to them. “I feel like the watch is helping to keep the history of the regiments alive in a way that can be publically displayed.” Robin hopes to have a similar success with a watch celebrating the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which traditionally recruits from Stirlingshire. Profits from the watch, which is available through the regimental museum or through the Time is Ticking website, will go to veterans.

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.


Pair guilty of murdering Glasgow businesswoman Lynda Spence

April 8 2013

Two men have been convicted of abducting, torturing and murdering missing businesswoman Lynda Spence, who disappeared two years ago. Colin Coats and Philip Wade, both 42, taped the 27-year-old financial adviser to a chair in a flat in Ayrshire in April 2011 and assaulted her every day for almost two weeks, then killed her. A jury at the High Court in Glasgow found them guilty following an 11-week trial. Coats and Wade forced Ms Spence into a car on Broomhill Path, Glasgow, on April14 2011 and drove her to West Kilbride, Ayrshire, where David Parker and Paul Smith let them in to Parker’s flat in Meadowfoot Road. When she arrived, Ms Spence was wearing sunglasses which were taped on the inside, and Coats gripped on to her waist. Wade carried in a tool bag which was referred to during the trial as “the torture kit”, containing garden loppers, surgical tape and vinyl gloves. They immediately whisked the woman upstairs to the attic area and taped her to a leather chair by the arms and waist. In the days that followed, the two men would arrive every day to hurt her, as a way of trying to extract financial information. She was burned with an iron, hit with a golf club and they crushed her toes, cut off her thumb and severed her pinkie finger. Parker told how he originally believed the arrangement was to help somebody that needed to get out of Glasgow, but as the situation “snowballed” he could see no way out of it. He and Smith were also charged with Ms Spence’s murder but were cleared after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of holding her against her will and assaulting her. Ms Spence was not allowed to move from the chair for the 13 days she was there, and had to urinate and defecate where she sat. On April 27 2011, Parker and Smith were dismissed by Coats and Wade, who told them: “Yous (sic) can go.” During the trial the court heard how Ms Spence and Coats were involved in a land deal at Stansted Airport, in which Coats claimed to have invested all of his money. Wade was described as his “right-hand man” in the killing and later told a friend, Pamela Pearson, that he helped dispose of a woman’s body. A statement released by Lynda’s parents said, “There is no verdict that will bring our daughter Lynda back or spare her the terrible ordeal that took her life. “We will never begin to imagine her suffering or comprehend the cruelty of any person who would do that to another human being. “We cannot begin to understand or forgive what they did to our daughter, Lynda. No words can begin to describe the heartache and pain we are suffering. “We would like to give our sincere thanks to the Solicitor General and her team for their dedication and bringing this case to a satisfactory outcome. We would also like to extend our thanks to Detective Superintendant Alan Buchanan and his team for their investigation in this case and to PETAL for their valued support. All have been of great support throughout this ordeal. “Lynda was a warm, kind and thoughtful daughter and was someone who always had time for others. “We miss her so much.”

Readers' letters

April 20: Will MacAskill show compassion to Tobin?

April 20 2010

On the agenda today: Pete Tobin, biomass plans, praise for the McManus Galleries, the TV leaders' debates and young voters. Will MacAskill show compassion to Tobin? Sir,-Your report (April 16) about killer Peter Tobin's health raises the question that if this individual (branded inhuman, evil and unfit to live in a decent society by three trial judges) proves to be terminally ill, will the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, authorise his release on humanitarian grounds as he did with Megrahi? The public is entitled to know. R. H. L. Mulheron.28 Cowgate,Tayport. Talk through biomass plans Sir,-Having read last week's informative and detailed article by J. J. Marshall (April 14) about the latest controversial plans for "environmentally friendly biomass plant structures", it was no surprise that a reader (April 17) made an attempt to dispute J. J. Marshall's argument. I agree that unemployment is a concern, not only around Dundee but in all areas of the country, however, a biomass plant should be properly discussed as opposed to being imposed upon local citizens. Harry Lawrie.35 Abbots Mill,Kirkcaldy. Take action on smoking Sir,-I spent a marvellous afternoon on Friday at Dundee's refurbished McManus Galleries. Many others had the same idea the place was crowded, which added to the enjoyment of sharing a collective experience. Dundee City Council are to be congratulated on maximising their collection and providing audio-visual aids to help interpret the significance of its artefacts. This is an example of a local authority not just with foresight but with a commitment to preserve the city's cultural and industrial past. The only downside was the uncomfortable experience of cigarette smoking drifting into the foyer and cafe area. The doors to the galleries are wide and there is a low wall outside, a natural place for smokers to relax. I am sure smokers believe they are far enough away from the building not to cause discomfort but perhaps a sign requesting smokers to congregate off the precincts might be a workable solution. Bob Ferguson.North Muirton,Perth. TV debate irrelevant Sir,-The irrelevance of Scotland in the run-up to the General Election is becoming obvious. The television debates must be embarrassing for Scots who sit and watch the point scoring by the three Unionist leaders with their manifestos aimed at the English electorate. I find it strange that the three English parties have stolen many of the ideas that the present Scottish Parliament have already put in place for those of us who live in Scotland. Let's see how irrelevant we become again after this English election when Scotland's "green revolution" takes off and the spoils disappear back into the Westminster coffers like North Sea oil did. Bob Harper.63a Pittenweem Road,Anstruther. Reflect voter disaffection Sir,-Watching the first election debate made me both shiver and grimace in equal measure and reminded me of the saying, "whoever controls the media controls the world". Politicians from earlier times were willing and able to cope with applause, heckling and awkward questions. Therefore, the most worrying feature of the programme was the subservient response to the ruling that there be no clapping nor interjection with the masses, on this occasion the audience. It should be everyone's duty to vote, but, as a person who has always voted in the past, I am increasingly tempted by the idea of not voting for anyone, for the very simple reason that by voting, I might be seen to be encouraging them. Therefore, if I were to be granted a wish at the moment, it would be to be given the opportunity on the ballot form, to tick a box which stated 'none of the above'. That option sadly will no doubt have to remain but a dream, as its introduction would reveal the total disaffection of the electorate for what is now on offer. Neil McKinnon.Tulchan Garden,Glenalmond,Perth. Keep young out of politics Sir,-Bob Taylor expressed his wish to involve more young people in politics. That is in line with the thinking from many commentators and most parties. I never was one for fleeting fads and gimmicks, so I would suggest this is, and always has been, a daft idea. If we look at the mess Britain is in, there is one factor underlying every mistake made by successive governments too many important decisions were made by politicians who were too young to have gained experience on which they could base crucial judgments. That is because we allow people to present themselves as candidates before they have gained even the most basic experience in things such as doing a real job, or bringing up a family in the real world. Therefore, let us put an end to young people making life-or-death decisions which affect us all. Let us introduce a minimum age, say 40, for candidates in all elections. That should give them time to understand how the real world works. And, while we're at it, those advocates of lowering the voting age should be resisted. Our education system has now failed to such an extent that a quarter of that age are leaving school without basic skills in reading, writing and adding up. What hopes for them being able to decide on who can run the country? We need to raise the voting age. Jim Parker.9 Banchory Green, Collydean,Glenrothes.

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.