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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

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

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

Council urged to take in stranded children from Calais Jungle

August 23 2016

Council chiefs in Perth are being urged to make room for unaccompanied refugee children stranded in Calais. Perth and Kinross Council, which rehomed 30 Syrian refugees last year, now faces growing pressure to accommodate vulnerable youngsters after it emerged that hundreds of children are believed to be stranded in the so-called Jungle migrant camp, despite having legitimate grounds for asylum in the UK. Perth City North councillor Elspeth Maclachlan has now written to council leader Ian Miller, urging him to consider the authority’s position and whether it can take on some of the children. She said: "I know that Perth and Kinross Council was one of only two Scottish councils to participate in the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme with it first started and that we first volunteered to take in vulnerable families back in March 2014. "And after the schemes simplification in 2015, Scotland agreed to take in 2000 Syrian Refugees." The SNP councillor added: "However, this week saw the publication of the Home Office select committee report which revealed that only 20 or so children have been relocated in the whole of Europe since the Bill passed. "One of the arguments given by the UK government is that there are not enough places for them. Some local authorities have gone on record as willing to take in some of these vulnerable children." Ms Maclachlan said there were around 600 unaccompanied children in Calais. "Life is not easy as, apart from the rats and bedbugs, there are difficulties getting enough food after the closure of the children’s café," she said. "At least 157 of the unaccompanied children in Calais have families in Great Britain. With safe passage included in the Dubs amendment to the immigration bill in May, it had been hoped that children would be allowed to come here in time for the start of the school year." Cllr Maclachlan said: "Perth and Kinross has always been generous in its response to those in need – especially children - indeed we still have children affected by the fallout from Chernobyl coming each year to spend time in this area. "If the UK Government says that the reason for these unaccompanied children being trapped in these terrible conditions in Calais and elsewhere is that there are not enough councils willing to take in these children then I feel it is necessary for Scottish Councils such as Perth and Kinross Council to show that they are willing to help these vulnerable children." Perth and Kinross Council has declined to comment.


Christian charity to sue ministers after ‘guardian’ legislation passed

February 20 2014

A Christian charity is suing ministers after plans to give every child in Scotland a “guardian” until the age of 18 were passed by parliament. The Christian Institute announced its intention to drag ministers through the courts in a bid to overturn legislation to appoint a “named person” for more than one million young people. Director Colin Hart said a £30,000 challenge would be launched “in defence of family life against state intrusion” after the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs, with 103 votes in favour and 15 abstentions. He said: “This is a dreadful extension of the state’s tentacles into family life. Churches, lawyers and parents opposed this. “But we are faced with the arrogance of a politically-correct pseudo elite intent on stamping their unrepresentative views on the people of Scotland. “We have no option but to challenge this ‘illegal’ law all the way. “We have the best legal advice from the eminent human rights QC Aidan O’Neill, who is in no doubt the proposals fall foul of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. “We have families who are ready to go to court to fight this law. And we will support them every step of the way.” A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are confident that the Bill is compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights. “Families are not required to accept advice or offers of help from the Named Person. “Any actions or advice from the Named Person must be fair, proportionate and respect rights with the aim of safeguarding the wellbeing of the child.” Children’s minister Aileen Campbell said the intention was “to ensure children and families have somewhere to go if they need an extra bit of help and that none are left without support”. However, the Bill was met by opposition from a number of groups and by the Conservative Party. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland raised concerns about inadequate resourcing by the Scottish Government to make the named person role a reality. RCN Scotland director, Theresa Fyffe, claimed an extra 450 health visitors would need to be recruited and trained to make the policy work. Around 60 kinship carers, their supporters and children protested loudly before MSPs voted on the proposals. They could be seen and heard chanting and singing outside Parliament, claiming vital support for vulnerable children in kinship care will be cut. Tory young person spokeswoman, Liz Smith, had put forward amendments that would mean those aged 16 and above would not have a named person assigned to them. The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP said: “We believe the policy is wrong in principle, that it does not have conclusive supporting evidence and has not been properly costed.” SNP MSP Ms Campbell replied: “We want to promote an early intervention and prevention approach, that is coordinated and prevents problems escalating into crisis. “We want to ensure as far as possible no child slips through that net. A named person for every child will help us achieve all of that.”


Thistle Couriers proud to support Archie Appeal

March 6 2015

So inspired are they by the work of the Archie Foundation, Thistle Couriers have pledged to donate their delivery services for free to the charity, writes Caroline Lindsay. Ewan Ferguson, the company’s managing director, spoke about how they first got involved with the foundation, which helps sick children in the north of Scotland, about five months ago. “I read an article online where members of the public had asked about buying Archie’s fund-raising merchandise people clearly wanted to purchase their goods, but postal costs were sometimes an issue,” he said. “So to me it was simple we have a great parcel delivery service that would allow Archie to deliver anything they need to fundraising teams, online sales anyone they needed to send anything to. “We wanted to be productively involved rather than just donating money or goods, and by providing our services we can participate and support the foundation every day. “It also means we can help the team in any way they need it at any time. “We are a small part of the daily effort to support and raise money on an ongoing basis for the whole of the foundation, and not just in Aberdeen. “Our overnight service allows the ARCHIE staff to book a parcel to be delivered promptly and we also provide tough packing bags to put the smaller orders in, reducing Archie’s need to purchase packaging also. “I had helped out the foundation from time to time since it first started, and everyone at Thistle was really pleased when I suggested we offer our services it’s such a great feeling to know that we are able to help in our own little way.” Ewan is in no doubt that Archie will raise the £2 million to put towards the new operating suite at Tayside Children’s Hospital. “You only have to look at the success the foundation has had at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and at Raigmore it’s clearly a great choice to do the same at Tayside Children’s Hospital. “The Archie team are so dedicated and selfless, it is truly humbling what this group of people attempt and achieve. “I was once told that if you want to change the world you have to start with one act of random human kindness. “The Archie team do this, minute by minute, day by day, and these guys and girls are the kind of people that can change the world. “Everyone at Thistle Couriers is proud to assist them in any way we can.”