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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.


RBS Caledonia Championship: 66-point thriller ends all square

September 16 2013

Perthshire and Strathmore served up a cracking encounter in RBS Caledonia Division One, eventually sharing the spoils in a 33-33 draw. Tries by Keir Doe, Dominic O’Connor, Owen McDonald and Adam Pattinson sealed three league points for the hosts who lie second in the table behind early pacesetters Dunfermline. The Fifers were 31-20 home winners over Gordonians, their four-try bonus ensuring a perfect 10-point haul from the opening two matches. St Andrews University clocked up a half-century to see off Mackie Academy 53-29. However, Morgan Academy endured a dis-appointing trip to face Caithness, losing 60-14. In Division Two (Midlands), Panmure shrugged off a hefty opening day defeat to post a 33-15 win over Kinross. Tries from Ade Parker, Andy Barclay, Ben Strachan, Conor Bowen and a penalty award saw the Broughty Ferry men open their account. It was a good day for the students, with a pacy Dundee University side producing a mathematically well balanced performance to clock up five tries and 31 points in each half as they brushed aside Alloa 62-22, and their counterparts at Stirling University eased to a 38-12 win over Grangemouth Stags. Glenrothes had the bonus point secured by half-time in their home game with Madras, Ryan Douglas, Gary Linton, Gary Tipling and Daryl Warrender all touching down. Glens rubbed in their superiority against opponents who had travelled with only 15 players. The home side added further tries from Steven Bell, Kenny Christie, Sean Lynch, Colin Maxwell and Willie Maxwell, plus three conversions by Connor Baxter to post a 51-14 win. The result leaves Glenrothes a point behind Hillfoots who had a second bonus point win when they saw off Harris Academy 28-11 at Elliot Road, Greg Mathews scoring all the home side’s points with a try and two penalties. The fixtures in Division Three (Midlands) served up several high scores, the biggest coming at Cupar where Howe of Fife seconds won 104-24 against Carnoustie. Grangemouth seconds had a 62-17 win over Glenrothes II and Bannockburn were 20-14 winners at home to Kirkcaldy II. Crieff & Strathearn continued their fine start to the season with a five point haul from their 44-17 win at home to Blairgowrie, while Waid Academy beat Fife Southern 34-12. Perthshire seconds emerged as the early pacesetters in Division Four (Midlands) with a second successive bonus point win, this time a 24-17 success at Stobswell. Dundee University Medics eased to a 41-12 win at Falkirk seconds.

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

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.

Scottish Championship

Brechin City boss hopes strike partnership will flourish

January 13 2018

Darren Dods is hoping that Brechin City will start to flourish with their new strike partnership. For the first time since August the Glebe Park boss was able to start Andy Jackson and Connor McLennan together against Morton last weekend. And Dods has been encouraged by what he saw. “Obviously, Jacko has taken his time to get back from injury and we used him off the bench for a few games,” he said. “Saturday was his first start and his link-up play was excellent. He got 70 minutes and will feel the benefit of that. “We’re hoping that Connor’s loan deal from Aberdeen will be extended because he’s scored a couple for us recently and has played well. “I think the only reason Derek (McInnes) would want him back would be if he was going to be involved with the first team. With the greatest respect to Connor, they’ve got a lot of options in that area. “We’d hoped this would be a good partnership for us at the start of the season and now we’re hoping the same again.” Today’s clash with Livingston will be Brechin’s last home game for a while. “It’s an opportunity for us,” said Dods. “We did well against Morton last weekend. Jacko was important for us and so was Callum Tapping. “It’s Celtic in the Scottish Cup next weekend and there’s no doubt about it – players do want to make sure they are in the starting line-up for that one.” It looks like Ryan McGeever may need an operation on his ankle. If that is confirmed it would probably rule him out for the season. Dods has a couple of January deals lined up but expects to have to wait until late in the window before they fall into place.

Perth & Kinross

Celtic fan banned for sectarian offence at St Johnstone match

October 8 2015

A Celtic supporter has been banned from attending football matches, after being filmed singing a sectarian song with a group of fans who ran amok at a televised league match. Lewis Connor, 18, was made subject to a six-month football banning order, after a court heard he was a known figure in a group of fans called the Style Mile Vandals. The court heard the group of 25 fans linked to the Green Brigade threw flares and smoke bombs and pelted a police car with cans while their team was playing St Johnstone in the SPFL. Connor, of Atholl Crescent, Paisley, admitted singing sectarian songs at St Johnstone’s ground, McDiarmid Park in Perth, on May 15. Solicitor Kevin McCarron, defending, said that CCTV footage showed that scaffolder Connor’s involvement lasted for just 13 seconds. He said: “There’s no excuse for it. The Style Mile Vandals were a group of young men aged between 14 and 20. They no longer exist. He was clearly identified on CCTV. It was an error of judgment on his part.”

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


‘We need to unite as one team’ grieving dad lends support to Fife mums’ knife campaign

April 30 2014

The father of a young Fife dad who died after being stabbed in May 2011 has backed two grieving Fife mums whose lives were also torn apart by knife crime. Alan McLean, who set up the Ditch the Knife Cherish Life campaign after his 27-year-old son Barry was stabbed to death in Burntisland, is offering his support to a newly-formed Knives Cost Lives campaign. As reported by The Courier last week, the Knives Cost Lives campaign is being supported by Susan Cleave, whose teenage son Connor was killed outside his Methil home earlier this month, and June Martin, whose two children were stabbed to death by their father at their home in Buckhaven in 2008. It was set up by Kennoway mum-of-three Amanda Scott in the wake of Connor’s tragic death on Simon Crescent on April 8. Mr McLean told The Courier: “We will be getting signed up on to the No Knives in Fife Campaign. As I have always said, we need to unite as one team, one voice. “Well done to Amanda Scott and everyone driving the campaign, and yes we need Fife to pull together with maximum support from our Scottish Government to make our streets safe and protect our children. “We should not be in a position where we are frightened to let our children play in the streets of our communities. “Where is the deterrent to prevent this from happening to another innocent family? When will our justice system take a different approach to prevent knife crime and punish those responsible accordingly? “Again we need more safeguards in place to protect the public. “Most importantly we need to change the mind set of our younger generation, which is the only answer and way forward, but we need a hard-hitting approach and again the stop and search is a step in the right direction. “Too many lives have been lost to knife crime and too many families left to pick up the pieces. Together we need to say enough is enough.” He added: “Carole Longe, who is one of the founders of Justice after Acquittal, wrote a very interesting column which explains her own personal experience after losing her daughter, and also the national minimum standards that have been proposed and piloted in England. “I strongly believe that Scotland should be taking the lead on this issue. “I have written a letter to our Scottish Parliament asking if independence will incorporate positive change within our current justice system. I am still awaiting a response.” The McLean family from Burntisland are making preparations for their fifth anti-knife crime march, to be held in Dunfermline in July.


Perthshire chalk up six tries in opening win at Gordonians

September 9 2013

Perthshire launched their RBS Caledonia Division One campaign with a trip to face Gordonians. It proved to be an enjoyable outing, with James Wade touching down twice, while there was a try apiece for Lewis Johns, Ed Salter, Adam Pattinson and Sam Brand, with Dominic O’Connor kicking the rest of the points in a 45-5 win. Morgan Academy chalked up a 17-15 win in their match at home to St Andrews University, and Dunfermline, the third team to return to the regional leagues this season, battled back from a slow start to see off Caithness 26-18 at McKane Park. The points came from tries by Giles Boland, Maurice Pinkerton, Graeme Low and Neil Donald, plus three conversions by Gregor McNeish. Dunfermline president Andy Morgan, said, “It was a pleasing response from the team after going 13-0 down early on and going on to secure a bonus point.” There was also a successful start to the season for Strathmore who beat Orkney 40-24. Recently-appointed Hillfoots coach Stuart McGee saw his men start with a century of points as they swatted aside Panmure 112-0 in RBS Caledonia Division Two (Midlands). There was a much closer encounter at Stirling University where four penalties by Steven Dean saw Glenrothes home to a 12-10 win over the students, who battled back from a 9-3 half-time deficit to lead 10-9. Harris Academy bounced back from a disappointing RBS Bowl performance to chalk up a 32-7 win away to Grangemouth Stags. The Elliot Road men, inspired by a virtuoso performance from veteran scrum-half Jack Reavely, led 20-0 at the break, courtesy of tries by Greg Matthew, Tom Spowart and Mike McDonald, plus five points from the boot of Callum Leese. A converted score for Poloc Islam secured the bonus point and Roger McGill completed the job with try number five. Alloa won 25-14 at Kinross while Ryan Walker led the way with two of Blairgowrie’s eight tries as they kicked off their Division Three (Midlands) campaign with a home 48-12 win over Waid Academy. He was joined on the scoresheet by David Grieve, Fraser Maxwell, David Allan, Liam McLaren, Fraser Bissett and Stephen Souter, who slotted four conversions. Carnoustie saw off Fife Southern 57-7, Kirkcaldy seconds beat their Howe of Fife counterparts 62-19 and Bannockburn were 27-12 winners away to Glenrothes seconds. Crieff & Strathearn returned from their trip to face Grangemouth seconds with a 33-12 win. Andrew Tainsh touched down twice and Greg Coul bagged Crieff’s other try.