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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...


Dundee smokers needed for university’s vaping study

January 27 2017

Smokers in Dundee are being recruited for a new study that will examine the potential health risks of vaping. Researchers at Dundee University are looking for 135 volunteers who have been smoking for at least two years and who smoke more than 15 tobacco cigarettes a day, or the equivalent amount of rolling tobacco, for the vital research. The effects of smoking on blood vessels will then be compared to the blood vessels of those who use e-cigarettes. The VESUVIUS study is being funded by the British Heart Foundation who say more work is needed to understand the potential impact of vaping on heart and circulatory health. Smokers who sign up for the study will be put into one of three possible treatment groups: continuing with tobacco cigarettes, switching to e-cigarettes with nicotine or e-cigarettes without nicotine. Dr Jacob George, who is leading the study, said: "Many people are using e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking and they are sold on the principle that they're a much safer alternative to traditional cigarettes because they don't contain harmful substances like tobacco and tar. "But just like traditional cigarettes, most of the do contain nicotine, which can be harmful to blood vessels. "So it's essential to know how much safer they really are, compared to tobacco cigarettes." Participants will have to make two visits to Ninewells Hosptial, four weeks apart. There, they will provide blood and breath samples as well as receiving a blood pressure check and undergoing a non-invasive ultrasound examination of blood vessels in their arm. British Heart Foundation Scotland director James Cant said: "We all know that smoking tobacco raises our risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. "E-cigs have been hailed by some as a great way to help smokers quit but little is actually known about their impact on our heart and circulatory system. That's why we're delighted to funding this important research." Anyone who wants to take part should contact trial manager Pippa Hopkinson on 01382 383195 or 07850 540230. Alternatively, they can email vesuvius@dundee.ac.uk

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.

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.

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.


Cigarette warning after early-morning fire in Dunfermline

June 25 2014

A discarded cigarette has been blamed for a fire at a house in Dunfermline early this morning. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Operations Control Thornton received the call at 3.33am to a small fire in a bedroom at Henryson Road after the owner was alerted by his smoke alarm. Crews from Dunfermline found the fire had been put out before they arrived on scene. A man was assessed at the scene by paramedics but did not require any treatment. An SFRS spokesperson said: “Any fire in someone’s home must always bring home the importance of working together to prevent fires and raise awareness of how to be safer from the risk of fire in the home. “Discarded smoking materials are a common cause of house fires it only takes a moment of carelessness to cause a fire that could cost someone their home, their possessions, or even their life. “It is vital that smokers make sure they have fully extinguished cigarettes and matches immediately after use and, once lit, they should never be left unattended. “A cigarette end can smoulder for hours before eventually starting a fire that can quickly spread flames, heat and toxic smoke throughout a property, so it’s essential that these are always properly put out. “People should never smoke while they are in bed and anyone who is feeling tired shouldn’t smoke in a chair either it’s far too easy to nod off and start a potentially devastating fire. “This incident also shows why every home needs to be protected by working smoke alarms. When fires happen these devices are life-savers. “Smoke alarms give you that vital early warning should a fire start. We provide free home fire safety visits and fit smoke alarms where required.” Free home fire safety visits with local firefighters can be arranged by by calling 0800 0731 999 or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk.


Whitfield flats sustain water damage after fire in shower

January 4 2012

Firefighters from Kingsway East Fire Station had one of their more unusual call-outs when a shower caught fire in a bathroom of a flat in Whitfield on Tuesday. The firefighters arrived at the flat in Red Admiral Court to find the shower unit in flames and wore breathing apparatus and used a hosereel and a C02 extinguisher to douse the flames. The bathroom suffered extensive water damage, as did other flats below. The occupants, two women in their 20s, raised the alarm after evacuating the flat and alerting their neighbours. Crew manager Alan Park said the two women had followed the correct procedures. ''They heard the smoke alarm and saw the smoke so theyself evacuated the premises and called us,'' he said. ''All the other residents were evacuated from the block. ''This incident shows the benefit of having a fitted, working smoke alarm as the premises were quickly evacuated and no one was injured.'' The cause of the fire is under investigation.


EXCLUSIVE: Primary school ravaged by fire didn’t have smoke alarms

December 14 2017

Serious doubts have been cast over the safety of Fife schools following the fire which engulfed a village primary last week. Parents of pupils at Cairneyhill Primary School have called for answers after learning that Friday’s blaze, which destroyed the junior building, was only discovered when a security alarm – and not a fire alarm – was activated. The alert led to the safe evacuation of around 200 children as more than 30 firefighters and seven appliances tackled the incident. Questions have now been raised over why simple smoke detectors were not fitted at Cairneyhill – and the safety of the wider school estate. The Courier has been contacted by several parents who fear last week’s incident could have had far more serious consequences. One mum, who did not want to be named, said: “When you put your children to school in the morning you automatically assume basic things like smoke alarms are in place. I don’t think we can assume anything any more. “I’ve been thinking all week about the ‘what ifs’, and I dread to think what could have happened had the kids not been on their lunch. “This would explain why the children were initially told not to worry and that it would be nothing because it was the burglar alarm and not the fire alarm. “If anything else, it’s hard to believe something as simple as a smoke detector might have saved our little school.” Fife Council’s head of education Shelagh McLean insisted the region’s schools comply with safety requirements. She said: “Legislation requires that our buildings are fitted with ‘appropriate… means for giving warning in the event of fire’ (Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006). “To determine what is appropriate we apply the guidance contained in the Scottish Government Practical Fire Safety Guidance. “In the case of Cairneyhill Primary School, an electrical fire alarm system with manual call points is an acceptable system and is common for this type of building across the UK.  The building is single-storey, has a simple layout with escape routes from classrooms directly to safety and occupants who are aware and familiar with the premises. “A fire would be quickly identified by occupants and the alarm raised and occupants evacuated before escape routes could be compromised, which was the case during the incident at Cairneyhill.  This is reinforced with termly fire drills to all staff and children.”   No insurance for pupils' belongings The fire alarm installed at Cairneyhill was a type which is activated by breaking a glass call point, although it was the triggering of the security alarm which led to the discovery of last Friday’s blaze. The head teacher and janitor immediately took steps to ensure that those remaining in the building were evacuated and the youngsters gathered in the gala field before being escorted to a nearby church hall. Fife Council also confirmed that it did not have insurance cover for personal belongings lost in the fire and would be unable to reimburse families, although the school’s parent council is trying to help with lost property. Youngsters and staff returned to classrooms in Tulliallan today, just a day after work to demolish the worst-hit building at Cairneyhill Primary got under way. Read more on this story https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/560599/cairneyhill-primary-school-fire-staff-praised-leading-children-safety/ https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/561105/school-fire-fails-dampen-cairneyhill-community-spirit-amid-parents-relief/ https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/562069/cairneyhill-primary-school-fire-drone-footage-reveals-extent-damage/ https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/562107/police-confirm-cairneyhill-primary-school-fire-non-suspicious/ https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/562308/pupils-will-not-immediately-return-fire-hit-cairneyhill-primary-school-says-council/ https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/563029/months-disruption-cairneyhill-pupils-staff-fire-forces-move-tulliallan-primary/ https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/564168/pictured-demolition-work-begins-fire-ravaged-section-cairneyhill-primary-school/