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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...

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

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

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

Angus & The Mearns

Answer to Easthaven carving mystery lies in Spain

March 4 2015

An expat sculptor has solved the mystery of a beautiful carving found in an Angus fishing village. Thomas (Tam) Walker, now living in Spain, said the carving was “fashioned by these fair hands of mine” as part of an art college project in Dundee in the 1960s. Mr Walker, a former Carnoustie High art teacher, contacted The Courier after his brother Mike forwarded our article to him and he said the story brightened up his day. The hard-fired terracotta sculpture depicted Robert the Bruce at the Declaration of Arbroath and it was discovered during a village clean-up in Easthaven. An appeal for information was launched after it was found close to the old post road where the pilgrims used to travel between Arbroath Abbey and St Andrews. Easthaven was popular with travellers in the 16th and 17th centuries and artefacts have previously been found there, including pilgrims’ brooches and a 12th-century coin. Residents thought the scuplture might have been of the same vintage but Mr Walker told The Courier it was “far from being of great antiquity.” He said: “By my memory o’ awfy cauld hauns when working on it, I can date it to the winter of 1967/68. “It is made of hard-fired terracotta and any metal therein was added for support and reinforcement. “I gave this panel to someone who asked if they might have it. Who that person was, for the life of me I cannot remember. “How it got to where it was found now that is a mystery.” Mr Walker, who was born in Arbroath, said he lived with his wife for 20 years at Long Row in Easthaven before the couple moved to Spain in 2000. As part of a project for college, Mr Walker made a maquette depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence at the abbey on April 6 1320. He said: “The Easthaven part, which is featured in the article, was an enlarged detail and this depicted Robert the Bruce, having the declaration displayed to him by a clerk while Bernard de Linton stands behind and Douglas stands in front.” Mr Walker said each of these figures was based on some of the people who took part in the 1966 pageant in Arbroath. He said his lecturers at Duncan of Jordanstone sculpture department gave him a lot of encouragement and it was with their good grace that the pieces were fired in the department kilns. A founder member of the Abbey Theatre and Carnoustie HSFP Rugby Club, Mr Walker continues to work in sculpture in a studio in Spain.

Local

Reeling back the years a Path through history

February 2 2015

Before televisions became a fixture in our homes, the only way to see the news was in the cinema. Newsreels were commonplace before movies and Path News was the best known name in the business. It operated from 1910 right through until 1970 when televisions had become so popular and news broadcasts so advanced that there was no longer any need, or desire, for news bulletins in the cinema. The films themselves remain an iconic part of British culture, despite production ceasing nearly 50 years ago. From the clipped voices narrating each story to the scratchy quality of the film stock itself, Now much of its vast archive, operated by British Path, has been posted online. The clips are an invaluable treasure trove of British and world history, covering two world wars and dozens of other world-shaping events. But they also are a priceless way to look back at life in the UK over the course of the 20th century and how much it has changed since. Over the next three days we will be looking at some of the best clips filmed in Tayside and Fife. From an invalided Winston Churchill arriving in Dundee to East Fife winning their second league cup during the Methil club’s post-war golden period, the films provide an invaluable snapshot of days gone by. Today we have chosen newsreels that capture community life in Tayside and Fife over the decades. From the massive crowds that greeted the Queen Mother in Dundee to pageants celebrating Robert the Bruce at Arbroath Abbey, the online clips show how much life has changed and, in some cases, how it has not. Tomorrow we will look at those videos which capture our changing world - from the construction of the Tay Road Bridge to celebrations of long-gone industries which once employed thousands. The Queen Mother visits Dundee: https://www.youtube.com/embed/elJ5B9Ps0cc?rel=0&showinfo=0 The Queen Mother always had a special relationship with Scotland thanks to spending her childhood at Glamis Castle. In turn, Scots loved the Queen Mum and thousands of Dundonians turned out to welcome her to Dundee in 1954, when she was given the freedom of the city from Lord Provost William Hughes. She also received the city freedom on behalf of the Black Watch at the same time. She was colonel-in-chief of the regiment at the time. The freedom of the city allowed member of the Black Watch to enter Dundee with bayonets fixed and drums beating. General Smuts at St Andrews: https://www.youtube.com/embed/UcCGcQf3tbY?rel=0&showinfo=0 The former Prime Minister of South Africa was installed as rector of St Andrews University in 1934. One of the most prominent politicians in the Commonwealth, he was one of the key figures in the establishment of the RAF. He was also a member of the British War Cabinets during the first and second world wars. Remarkably, he is the only person to sign the peace treaties that ended both conflicts. Arbroath Pageant: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ajVOqnfj2tY?rel=0&showinfo=0 This three-minute silent video shows the first ever Arbroath pageant, filmed in 1947. It shows hundreds of people dressed up in costume, from monks and soldiers to King Robert the Bruce himself, to celebrate and re-enact the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath with the town’s Abbey. Although Arbroath Abbey had not changed in the past 70 years, the clip provides a glimpse of post-war fashions and cars of the day. Sadly, the last pageant took place in 2005.

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.

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.

Heritage

Detectorist hopes battle site find is 14th Century

June 24 2016

A Dundee metal detectorist has dug up an artefact he believes could be evidence that Robert the Bruce camped at Bannockburn in 1314. Danny Clifford, 38, was over the moon when he found the rusty iron cooking pan during a dig at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn on June 19. The dig, organised by the National Trust for Scotland, aimed to find evidence of Bruce and his army – and Danny is praying experts will confirm his exciting find is the real deal. “I need to find out its exact age but I think the cooking plate dates from around 1300AD,” he said. “I’m hoping it’s the genuine article and that it was dropped by Bruce’s army when they camped here on the night before the battle in 1314. I need an expert to confirm this as some people have suggested it could be from the 1700s.” Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr of the NTS said while experts can’t yet confirm the pan’s identity, it is an exciting find. “Signs from the battle are rare and there’s very little evidence, so any finds are potentially very significant,” she said. “Lots of pottery and other bits and pieces were found during the dig on June 19 and while some items seem very exciting, they require further investigation to date them and see if they are connected to the battle. “We can’t really confirm how likely it is that Danny’s cooking pan dates that far back yet and it will be a few weeks before we can determine this.” Danny, a former Royal Engineer who used detectors to track down mines and explosives, has been a hobby detectorist since he left the army in 1999. He travels across Scotland in his mission to find old and unusual coins and artefacts. “It’s exciting when you see things coming out of the ground,” he said. “The oldest coin I’ve dug up was a 1242 King Alexander III I found in Oban. “I also found a blood-letting fleam (a handheld instrument used for taking blood) from the 1700s in Trottick. “The strangest thing I’ve found was a Dutch 1923 coin with the queen’s head cut out.” Danny is looking forward to returning to Bannockburn in autumn for a proposed underwater dig by the NTS. “I’ve got all the diving gear and the underwater detector, so I’ll probably be the only one in the river,” he laughed. His club, Dun-Deigh Relic Hunters, works to find Scotland’s lost relics – and lost jewellery, keys and other metal. “Loads of people ask for help finding things – usually keys and sometimes jewellery. I don’t charge but I do ask for a donation for fuel.”

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