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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...

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

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.

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.


St John’s RC High School footballers are the history boys

April 27 2016

For almost four decades the top prize in football has eluded Tayside’s senior school teams. The wait is finally over, however, as pupils at St John’s RC High School secured the Scottish Schools’ Football Association Senior Boys Shield. In doing so, they emulated Harris Academy, whose senior boys took home the same prize 40 years ago. St John’s fifth and sixth year pupils triumphed at the home of Scottish football, Hamden Park, securing a hard-fought 1-0 win over Glasgow’s Bannerman High School. It capped a remarkable season for the team, who ended their campaign unbeaten in league and cup after a string of excellent performances. The team was lauded for its efforts at a meeting of Dundee City Council, with applause for four team members, who were invited to hoist the giant shield aloft. There was praise, in particular, from Lord Provost Bob Duncan, who hailed an historic performance – and also the importance of staff at the school to the triumph, including head teacher Fiona McLagan. He said: “I want to offer our congratulations to St John’s RC High School after their win at Hampden Park. “This is the first time the shield has come to Tayside since Harris won it 40 long years ago. “I know that the head teacher's support has also been fundamental to the team’s success. “I heard that she almost fell out of the royal box at Hamden celebrating the win!” Among the victorious players were Logan Irvine, 16, and Ben Mitchell, 17, who said it had been a great year for the team. Ben said: “We have gone through the league unbeaten, won every game this season, and now we've won the shield. “Our fourth years were fantastic last year and got to the final of their competition, but they lost 3-1. “This year the fifth and sixth years have won it.” Head teacher Fiona McLagan said: “This is the oldest schools’ football trophy in the world, first presented back in 1903.” “It was fantastic to see the boys win and St John’s become only the second school in Dundee to take home the shield.”

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

Perth & Kinross

Perth Festival of the Arts gets under way

May 19 2016

For the rest of the month Perth has a strong claim to being the cultural capital of Scotland as the city hosts its annual festival of the arts. From English Touring Opera to Jools Holland the festival again has a strong musical offering as does the visual arts with various exhibitions adding to the mix. “From small beginnings, Perth Festival has grown over the year’s to become one of the highlights of Scotland’s cultural calendar,” said PFA chairman Peter Rutterford. “We have produced a programme with a wide variety of artists and shows to appeal to all ages and tastes, from classical to pop music, opera to “the Broadway Sound”, comedy to children’s performances.” On the popular front a late edition to the festival which has just been announced is Kirkcaldy fireman Stevie McCrorie, the 2015 Winner of  television’s The Voice, who will support KT Tunstall on Friday May 27. As the first events got the 11-day festival got under way – Don Giovanni at Perth Concert Hall and a lunchtime performance by St John’s Academy in St John’s Kirk, festival administrator Sandra Ralston prepared for the culmination of her year-long efforts. “The 45th festival has arrived and we are all ready to have a wonderful time,” she said. “Ticket sales have been very buoyant but we can of course always sell more.” A popular free event, running until May 22, is the ArTay exhibition marquee which has sprung up beside the concert hall and features hundreds of works by established and up-and-coming artists. “We usually have more than 3,000 people over the four days, it’s huge,” said ArTay organiser Hugh Goring. Economic studies have revealed that past festivals have enjoyed 11,000 plus attendances, providing a significant early summer boost to local businesses. While the majority of those supporting the festival are from Perth and Kinross, more than 30% come from elsewhere in Scotland with a small but significant contingent attracted from down south or even overseas. What’s On at a Glance Friday May 20 -  Kilgraston School concert  (St John’s Kirk 12.30pm); Alex Horne and The Horne Section (7.30pm concert hall). Saturday May 21 - Roald Dahl Centenary Family Concert (11am concert hall); Manran, Sinderins and Claire Hastings (7.30pm concert hall). Sunday May 22 - Festival service, Perth Youth Orchestra (11am St John’s Kirk); The John Wilson Orchestra (7.30pm concert hall) Monday May 23 - Perth High School concert (12.30pm St John’s Kirk); Pascal and Ami Roge, Satie and Les Six (7.30pm concert hall). Tuesday May 24 – Perth and Kinross School concert (12.30pm St John’s Kirk);  The Sixteen (7.30pm St John’s Kirk); The Unthanks (8pm concert hall). Wednesday May 25 - Glenalmond College concert (12.30pm St John’s Kirk); Aquarelle Guitar Quartet (7.30pm concert hall). Thursday May 26 - Perth Academy concert (12.30pm St John’s Kirk); Nina Conti (8pm concert hall). Friday May 27 - Strathallan concert (12.30pm St John’s Kirk); KT Tunstall, support Stevie McCrorie (8pm concert hall). Saturday May 28 - The Allan Young Trio (11am St John’s Kirk); Pop-up Opera Roadshow (12noon, 2pm and 3pm concert hall); Jools Holland (7.30pm concert hall). Sunday May 29 - Pop-up opera  (12noon, 2pm and 3pm concert hall); The Halle (7.30pm concert hall).

Perth & Kinross

St John’s Kirk praying for volunteers

August 2 2013

Perth’s most ancient and historic Kirk is appealing for stewards to help welcome a constant stream of visitors from both home and abroad. St John’s Kirk in the heart of the city can trace its history back to the 12th century and has become a major visitor attraction in recent years following a £2.7 million refurbishment. Last year a record 10,000-plus sightseers visited the building and, in order to meet that growing demand, new volunteers are being recruited to act as stewards. Around 30 stewards currently “meet and greet” visitors but kirk steward Kay Morrison said they would like to double that number. “Everyone involved in stewarding at St John’s Kirk finds it a worthwhile, enjoyable and rewarding experience,” she explained. “It is lovely to be able to welcome visitors from our own city as well as thousands more from home and abroad into the ancient kirk and act as guides and informants, if required, regarding its fascinating history and many notable relics and artefacts. “In order to meet visitor demands, we try to keep the kirk open daily from 10am to 4pm, April to September and at Easter and Christmas and it would be ideal to expand these hours at other times, even for short periods per day,” explained Kay. “Regrettably, there are occasions when the church is closed for lack of availability of kirk stewards, but doubling the number of volunteers would prevent that from happening.” Anyone interested in learning more about the role of a kirk steward is invited to attend an open day in the kirk on Saturday August 10 at 10.30am. Many of the present stewards will be on hand to encourage volunteers to get involved in this rewarding experience even for just a few hours a month. St John’s Kirk minister, the Reverend Jim Wallace, said the kirk stewards played a “vital role” in the life of the ancient church. “One of the special features of St John’s Kirk is that we try to have the building open to all, not just on Sundays but during the week as well,” he said. “We know from comments received that the open building is very much appreciated by people who live locally, as well as those who come from further afield. “St John’s Kirk has always played a central role in the life of Perth as a community and it is volunteers from that local community and beyond who will ensure that we have enough stewards to keep the building full of life and welcoming each and every day.” The £2.7m refurbishment of St John’s Kirk, only completed in 2011, has already brought with it a surge of activity in the kirk. In addition to regular Sunday worship and the special festivals of Christmas and Easter, a new opportunity will be offered from August 20. Entitled Tuesdays at Two, it will offer short services at 2pm every Tuesday for busy people and for those who cannot attend on Sundays. Music in St John’s continues to flourish, with many daytime and evening performances, monthly recitals by organists and other musicians, as well as concerts organised by Perth Chamber Music Society, Scottish Opera and others in association with Perth Concert Hall.

Readers' letters

July 4: Howff gravestone appeal fell on deaf ears

July 4 2011

Today's letters to The Courier. Howff gravestone appeal fell on deaf earsSir,-One could almost feel the pride throughout J.J. Marshall's column about Morgan Academy, Dundee. What a pity he, and all the other former pupils, are not prepared to do something about the Morgan gravestone in the Howff. Some nine years ago The Nine Trades found it in a disgraceful state. They spent a great deal of money having new pillars cut and the stone repaired and replaced. The stone, however, needs the inscription re-cut. We obtained a quote of some £1300 for the work and committed the sum of £300 to start things off. Despite repeated pleas, often in your paper, for money to make up the balance, we have only had one response, a cheque from one grateful past pupil for £40. So much for the great pride Morgan pupils have in their old school. Work that out at a cost per proud pupil and it is less than a loaf of bread. Some pride. Innes A. Duffus.Dundee.Law Society stayed quietSir,-It must be really demoralising for law students, especially graduates trying to complete their articles and many still seeking employment, to see their profession being further denigrated. I would have thought that, even with its blemishes, the Scottish Law Society would be more than capable of dealing with any criminal case or human rights issue without any outside intervention. Whether politics were involved or not, I remember in 2009 the lord chancellor was one of the main instigators of the Supreme Court. At that time only three High Court judges from Scotland were appointed. With an issue proving so important to our nation, was there even a murmur at any level from the Scottish Law Society? In a constantly changing world perhaps now is the time for a re-appraisal of the Law Society and its role. James M. Fraser.39 High Street,Leven.Pension grumbles overstatedSir,-This morning's editorial (June 29) was spot on when it claimed the public-sector pension issue should have been addressed by the Labour government in 2005 when they memorably funked it. Increased longevity makes impossible continuance of an unreformed system. A 3% increase in contributions and a retirement age of 66 is not the end of the world. The professions tend to overestimate the income they will need in retirement and my kirk pension of £12,000 after 35 years, plus my state pension, has proved fine. My medical brothers received over four times that amount and retirement at 60 but I found the closing years before retirement at just past 65 the most rewarding of my entire career. As long as the poorer-paid public sector workers are protected, I think the better-off professionals with school fees and mortgages long past should keep a grip on reality. (Dr) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews. Not the saviours they pretendSir,-The SNP's Alex Orr (June 27) is right to highlight Scotland's marginally better public spending deficit as compared to the UK generally, but at least the Westminster government has acknowledged the need to get it under control. However, the SNP wants to see a Scotland with fiscal policies like slashed corporation tax, significantly reduced fuel duty and tax breaks for favoured sectors such as computer games. The SNP is clearly reluctant to raise income tax or council taxes, or to impose a windfall tax on oil companies. But it makes lavish spending commitments. It surely ill behoves the Nationalists to favourably compare Scotland's deficit to that of the UK. No wonder the SNP is so keen for Scotland to have borrowing powers. Mr Orr highlights the role of oil revenues in an independent Scotland. But this merely underlines yet another future drain on Scotland's public purse, namely the subsidy-hungry renewables industry. There would also be a stealth tax in the form of rocketing energy bills. The SNP's attempts to depict themselves as the planet's environmental saviours, while at the same time portraying oil as the key to Scotland's future, shows that the party wants to have its renewables cake and eat it. Stuart Winton.Hilltown,Dundee. Fairtrade status undermined Sir,-I note with interest your article (June 28) about Scotland being on course to become the world's second Fair Trade nation. Having been on the original working group which helped set up the Scottish Fair Trade Forum back in 2006, I think it would be wonderful to see this goal being achieved. Dundee became a Fairtrade City in March 2004, the first in Scotland, but this status needs to be renewed. That is currently under threat because, unlike other local authorities, Dundee City Council does not automatically provide Fairtrade catering for meetings. It would be a great shame if Scotland's Fair Trade nation accolade were denied because its first Fairtrade city lost its status. Sally Romilly.4 Westwood Terrace,Newport-on-Tay. Leuchars still at riskSir,-The fact that the MoD has spent millions on RAF Leuchars is no guarantee of saviour. Remember that a new hangar complex was built for rescue helicopters of 22 Squadron, only for the RAF to disband the flight. Stephen Pickering.19 Abbey Court,St Andrews.