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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...

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

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

Tractor stolen from farm in Kinross-shire

February 28 2014

Police are investigating after a tractor was stolen from a farm in Kinross-shire. A Massey Ferguson worth £20,000 was taken from Findatie Farm between 8am on Monday and 6am on Tuesday. The tractor’s registration number was SP04 BFK when stolen. Officers say a low loader would have been required to remove it from the farm. Anyone who knows where the stolen tractor is being urged to contact Police Scotland Tayside Division on 101 or speak to any police officer. Information can also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Perth & Kinross

Inquiry hears farmer was inches from surviving tractor accident

August 11 2015

A Perthshire farmer was killed when his runaway tractor crushed him to death between the vehicle and a tree, a fatal accident inquiry has heard. Perth Sheriff Court heard that if the tractor’s path had been only inches to the left or right then Benedikt Gudmundsson would still be alive. Mr Gudmundsson died as he carried out his daily routine feeding the cows at his Dunkeld farm in September last year. His tractor slipped down a muddy bank at Dalmarnock Farm while he clung to the side, after he left it in neutral with the engine idling and the handbrake disengaged. As the tractor picked up speed it raced narrowly past a tree and the 80-year-old had no chance of avoiding being crushed between the tractor and the tree. Mr Gudmundsson was discovered on the farm by his son Benedikt Jr after his wife raised the alarm. Health and safety inspector Garry Miller said: “It was a matter of pure chance that the tractor passed so close to the tree. If it was a few inches either way it is likely he would have survived. “The tractor would either have hit the tree, causing Mr Gudmundsson to fall to the ground, or it would have helped him pass the tree without hitting it.” He suggested the most likely reason for the accident was either that Mr Gudmundsson had left the handbrake off and the engine running, causing the tractor to take off on its own; or, because he was known to have difficulty getting into the vehicle due to his reduced mobility, he may have used the steering wheel to assist him and disturbed the tractor. Sheriff William Wood heard that Mr Gudmundsson had been involved in farming all his life and was an experienced tractor driver. The sheriff said he would issue the formal findings at a later date.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Driving ban for woman who caused tractor crash

September 17 2014

A woman has been banned for causing a rural Angus road accident which left a van driver injured and saw an £18,000 tractor written off. The tractor’s front axle was ripped off after it was hit by the van which swerved to avoid Lesley Durnan when she pulled out to overtake in the early-morning incident on the B978 near Kirkbuddo late last year. Durnan, 60, of Paddock Cottage, originally faced a charge of dangerous driving in relation to the November 27 accident, but had a plea to driving without due care and attention accepted by the Crown. However, the incident was described by Sheriff Gregor Murray as being “very much at the top end of the scale” of careless driving as he banned recently-retired Durnan from the road for six months and fined her £400. Depute fiscal Hannah Kennedy said the collision happened around 8am when the accused was behind two other vehicles and the tractor. “The two vehicles overtook the tractor and the accused decided to overtake the tractor near a bend,” said the fiscal. “As she overtook it there was an oncoming van which had to take evasive action and brake sharply.” The van hit the tractor and then rolled into a field, with its driver suffering a broken right hand, the court heard. Durnan’s solicitor said the case had hung heavily over the head of the accused and her husband since the accident. He said the Crown had accepted there was an element of excessive speed on the part of the van driver, and although damage to the vehicles was extensive the injuries to those involved were not serious. He said the accused had no previous convictions and a clean licence, and considered herself to be a “safe driver.”

Angus & The Mearns

Lorry driver admits forcing father and daughter’s tractor off A90

October 11 2013

A Tayside lorry driver forced a tractor off the road in an terrifying incident that caused rush-hour chaos on the busy A90 dual carriageway. The father and daughter in the tractor needed hospital treatment for a variety of injuries, including broken ribs, a collapsed lung and fractured cheek after the incident near Glamis. Meanwhile, a number of cattle were thrown on to the road and under a trailer. The incident happened as Glamis prepared for the biggest day in its calendar, the Transport Extravaganza, and mile-long tailbacks lasted several hours while emergency services worked to undo the carnage. An admission of guilt was made to Forfar Sheriff Court on behalf of Dundee man John Hamilton on Thursday. However the 44-year-old did not attend to hear his sentence, which was deferred as a result. The court heard how his lorry, a transporter for national catering firm Brakes, pushed the tractor off the road after following it for a short distance at 5.15pm on Friday, July 12. Depute fiscal Nicola Gillespie said the accused, of Victoria Street, was driving a 13-and-a-half tonne lorry in his employ. “Around 5pm on Friday, Heather and Arthur Duff were driving in the nearside lane southbound on the A90, near the Quilko junction. “The accused was also driving south, and was keeping a short distance behind,” she added. As the Duffs travelled, the accused began to narrow the gap, until it pushed the trailer. This caused the tractor and the cattle float to leave the road and plunge down an embankment, scattering the cattle in the process. Ms Gillespie said: “It is unclear whether it was before or after the collision that the cattle escaped.” The accused stopped his vehicle at the barrier, parallel with the tractor. A queue of traffic formed behind his vehicle and another motorist called 999. Two bulls were trapped beneath the overturned trailer and had to be freed using hydraulic cutting equipment and a digger. Both carriageways were closed for several hours causing long tailbacks as traffic was diverted through Forfar. Ms Gillespie added that Ms Duff was still in the vehicle when they reached her, and she had sustained a fracture to her left cheek, which required a metal plate. Mr Duff was preoccupied with trying to organise the cattle, but was later found to have a collapsed lung and broken ribs. Ms Gillespie said no defect was found with steering or brakes in the lorry. Visiting sheriff Mark Stewart QC said: “Given the serious nature of this incident, this is a matter that requires the accused to make a personal appearance.” Sheriff Stewart deferred sentence for three weeks for Hamilton to attend the court. Previous convictions were admitted to by his defence agent Keith Sym. Hamilton admitted driving without due care and attention on July 12. He further admitted veering into the offside carriageway and colliding with the crash barrier.

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.


St Andrews University scientists’ Star Trek breakthrough

January 25 2013

University boffins are boldly going where only Captain Kirk has gone before. Scientists from St Andrews University have invented a real-life tractor beam, as featured in the classic sci-fi series Star Trek. The discovery will for the first time allow a beam of light to attract things or even “Klingon” to them. The USS Enterprise in the TV series and films used a tractor beam to snare other spaceships and large objects hurtling through space. Although the breakthrough by academics at St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic is not quite that ambitious, it could lead to more efficient methods of medical testing, such as the examination of blood samples. Light manipulation techniques have existed since the 1970s, but this is the first time a light beam has been used to draw objects towards the light source, albeit at a microscopic level. The scientists have found a way to generate a special optical field that efficiently reverses radiation pressure of light. The team, led by Dr Tomas Cizmar, Research Fellow in the School of Medicine at St Andrews University, with Dr Oto Brzobohaty and Professor Pavel Zemanek, both of ISI, discovered a technique which will allow them to provide ‘negative’ force acting upon minuscule particles. Professor Zemanek said: “The whole team have spent a number of years investigating various configurations of particles delivery by light. “I am proud our results were recognised in this very competitive environment and I am looking forward to new experiments and applications. It is a very exciting time.” Normally when matter and light interact, the solid object is pushed by the light and carried away in the stream of photons. Such radiation force was first identified by Johanes Kepler when observing that tails of comets point away from the sun. Over recent years, researchers have realised that, while this is the case for most of the optical fields, there is a space of parameters when this force reverses. The scientists at St Andrews and ISI have now demonstrated the first experimental realisation of this concept together with a number of exciting applications for bio-medical photonics and other disciplines. The exciting aspect is that the occurrence of negative force is very specific to the size and composition of the object. This in turn allows optical sorting of tiny objects in a simple and inexpensive device. Interestingly, the scientists identified certain conditions in which objects held by the “tractor” beam force-field rearranged themselves to form a structure which made the beam even stronger. Dr Cizmar said: “Because of the similarities between optical and acoustic particle manipulation, we anticipate that this concept will provide inspiration for exciting future studies in areas outside the field of photonics.” Dr Brzobohaty said: “These methods are opening new opportunities for fundamental phonics as well as applications for life-sciences.”