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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

UK & World

Baby boomers must pay higher wealth taxes, says Tory former minister

March 5 2018

The “baby boomer” generation must pay higher wealth taxes to fund health and welfare spending as costs spiral as a result of an ageing population, a Tory former minister has said.Lord Willetts said higher wealth taxes are needed unless the burden of paying for an ageing population is to be placed entirely on the shoulders of young people who are already struggling to match the living standards of their parents.He will cite Resolution Foundation research showing that by 2030 spending on health, education and social security will rise by £20 billion in today’s money, and by £60 billion by 2040.The extra spending, almost entirely driven by health costs, would need to be covered by a massive 15p hike in the basic rate of income tax to cover the funding gap until 2040, unless reforms are made elsewhere.In a speech at the Resolution Foundation’s Westminster headquarters, its chair Lord Willetts will say: “The time has come when we boomers are going to have reach into our own pockets. The alternative could be an extra 15p on the basic rate of tax, paid largely by our kids.“Is that kind of tax really the legacy we – a generation who own half the nation’s wealth – want to bequeath our children and grandchildren?”The peer will call for an overhaul of inheritance tax and council tax, on which a the proportional tax rate for a family in a £100,000 house is five times that of someone in a million-pound property. He will say: “For 30 years Britain has enjoyed a time when the baby boomers were at their peak earning power. We benefited from lower pressures on public spending. Politicians talked as if tax cuts were the normal state of British politics.“But we are now at a tipping point. The baby boomers are moving into retirement and there are fewer younger working age people coming up behind them.“As we at last emerge from deficits the recession gave us in this decade we need to look forward to the pressures an ageing population is set to give us in the next.“Politics is going to be very different as the baby boomers retire. The age of tax cuts is over.”He will add: “Unless we act, at some point we will face a choice between changing our approach to taxation, or cutting access to the NHS and letting social care get into an even deeper crisis. We can’t delay that debate any longer.”

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.

Readers' letters

Those remarks: much ado about nothing

May 8 2014

Sir, Having heard all about Alex Salmond’s comments re Vladimir Putin I decided to read the article myself to see what the fuss was all about and can only say I was underwhelmed. To say that the response from unionists has been a touch melodramatic would be an understatement. That is why Ken MacDougall’s letter (May 5) was a trifle bizarre. One can only presume that he has not read the article and has fallen for the spin. If he has read the article then we must take his letter with a pinch of salt. Either way, I think he owes the First Minister an apology. I cannot recommend enough that people read the article for themselves and make their own mind up. As for the rest of Mr MacDougall’s letter it says it all about the mentality of unionists that they think it is somehow wrong that Scotland should receive a fair share of the UK’s assests. After all it is now conceded that Scotland not only pays its way but actually contributes more to the economy of the UK than every other part of the country bar London and the South East of England. As for oil, Mr MacDougall’s attempt to grab the oil for the rUK after independence shows a lack of knowledge of international law. I suggest he reads up on that and then he will realise just how ludicrous his suggestion is. It does, however, say a lot that unionists, after independence, want to ensure the worst possible outcome for Scotland even if it goes against international law, common sense and common decency. Stewart Hunter. 61 Greenlee Drive, Dundee. Pensioner figures not “a fact” Sir, I have to take issue with the assertion by many in the No campaign that Scotland will have a higher proportion of pensioners in its population than the rUK within two to three decades, making the provision of services less affordable here. They claim this to be a “fact”. It is not a “fact”; it is a projection. If we do nothing over the coming decades, then that projection will be validated. However, who is to say nothing will change? In the late 1990s, it was projected that Scotland’s population would fall far below five million. This was considered unavoidable but things changed with the coming of devolution and instead of falling it has risen by around 300,000. By claiming the projection concerning pensioners is unavoidable fact, the No campaign is effectively telling us they will do nothing to remedy the situation in the event of a “no” vote but not to worry, the English taxpayer will see us alright. To me, that is neither acceptable nor a given. If devolution can help turn around a dwindling population, independence offers us the opportunity to build on that success and make decisions in our own best interests to address the challenge of an aging population. Scotland has the wealth and expertise to do this despite what No campaigners would have us believe. Stuart Allan. 8 Nelson Street, Dundee. Urgent review is needed Sir, I find the report on the Metropolitan Police (Tuesday’s Courier) disturbing and indeed alarming. Sir Robert Mark, who became the Commissioner of the Met from 1967 to 1977 tried very hard to clear up corruption but admitted, that having come from the Leicester force, he felt a bit like the leper attending the Colonial Governor’s garden party as he did not know who to trust. One of the problems is the fact that the force is too big to control and it would appear from recent events, that discipline is relatively non-existent. A review is urgently required as respect and trust are primary factors. John McDonald. 14 Rosebery Court, Kirkcaldy. Don’t make same mistake Sir, “No” voters often revert to the wonderful union within Britain that has worked for Scots over the past 300 years. The way in which that union was forged was in a dingy ale house in Edinburgh, by those often referred to as a “parcel o’ rogues” who sold their enslaved Scottish nation to a corrupt Westminster Government for a few favours and for their own benefit. There was no referendum for those Scots to decide what they wanted for themselves. The decision was taken for them by these few corrupt landowners and lairds. In September, after 300 years of subservience to the Westminster establishment, Scots will have this right to decide their future, a future that was denied them all those years ago. Many of our older generation, myself included, will be persuaded, again by the wolves of London, with scare stories to their pensions and threats of being returned to uncertainty and poverty, if they decide to vote “yes”. In the hope that they will now start to see through the London lies, and knowing that our time to shuffle off this mortal coil is always approaching, have we the right to deny our offspring the opportunity to make up their own minds,and learn from those denied democracy three centuries ago? If we do not curtail our own selfishness we may stand to be accused of being a “parcel o’ rogues” from the 21st century. Bob Harper. 63a Pittenweem Road, Anstruther.

Readers' letters

April 8: Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

April 8 2011

This morning's letters look at the River Tay beavers and wildlife management, taxation, fuel prices, and road safety in Fife. Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers Sir,-I read with interest your article 'Call for halt to beaver damage' (April 6) regarding the acceleration of beaver damage on the lower River Earn, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by an angler. As with other wildlife, most notably deer, whether the felled trees are viewed as damage or not is only really the concern of the landowner involved. SNH maintain that it is legal for landowners to kill or remove beavers if they deem it necessary so, officially, there is no problem here. If the landowner thinks he has a problem, SNH say he can do something about it. Others will dispute this and the legal position does require to be clarified. This is why the River Tay beavers are important. They will force us to address these issues much sooner than the official Scottish Government reintroduction of beavers into Argyll and everyone will benefit from that, whatever their views on beavers might be. There is little point in calling for a halt to the beaver damage as the Tay beavers do not read The Courier. What we need is a pragmatic approach from government to this issue which allows us to learn how these animals will interact with other land uses and provides landowners with a workable mechanism for dealing with problem situations. Ultimately, all our wildlife should be managed locally according to local circumstances and sensitivities, not by a centralised quango in Inverness. Scottish Natural Heritage are all over the place on this issue and do not have the answers. We will have to look elsewhere for those. Victor Clements.1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy. Victorian species cull Sir,-I agree in part with Eric McVicar's letter (April 5) about culling non-indigenous species but he shows a severe lack of knowledge in some areas. For example, beavers are a native species, as are bears and wolves. The absence of these animals is solely down to Victorian bloodlust, which saw the eradication of a vast number of species worldwide simply to amuse bored aristocrats. This has left us with a red deer population held on estates causing genetic diversity issues and out of control numbers, due to the lack of natural predators. I believe he is referring to Japanese knotweed, not Japanese hogweed. If Mr McVicar is a teacher then I fear for his pupils as he seems to be giving out wrong information and failing to teach them to check their facts. (Mr) J. Phillip.3 Lyninghills,Forfar. March of indirect taxation Sir,-Your editorial (April 5) and related article on the launch of the Scottish Conservative election manifesto for Holyrood misses an important fact. The fees or graduate contribution to the sum of £4000 is for every year of study. Parents and students can do the maths. Common sense it may be for Conservatives but, for those affected, it will feel very much like indirect taxation much favoured, as many of your readers will recall, by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s. Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans. Motorists need fuel transparency Sir,-We were conned in the Budget last month. The petrol companies had predicted the one penny reduction and had already upped the price by three or four pence. So is it now possible for the UK Government to do two specific things to regain some credibility? First tell the fuel retailers to instantly removed the ridiculous 0.99 they tag on at the end of their main price and, second, make it a rule to give the displayed price per gallon and not per litre. After all, cars in particular are sold with predicted miles per gallon consumption (admittedly often optimistic) not miles per litre. And if motorists were to see immediately the true cost of fuel for their car, instead of ridiculously having to multiply the litre price by 4.546 to find out, they would most certainly be more cautious with their travels and work a lot harder at reducing petrol/diesel consumption. Having been conned a few weeks ago, vehicle owners are surely entitled to some honesty now. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Wind farm risk to road users Sir,-I feel compelled to reply to your article regarding Fife's fatal road crashes. With 10 out of 13 fatal crashes in 2010 happening on rural roads, the most common contributory factor given in your article was failure to observe the road properly. My concerns are related to the plans submitted to Fife Council for the giant wind turbines on Clatto Hill. The road that runs adjacent to the proposed site is the C30. This rural road demands your full attention and concentration while driving in either direction. With the road being narrow, it requires even medium-sized cars to slow down or pull in when passing. The road has several vertical crests and sharp vertical curvatures which would make the turbines appear suddenly then disappear just as quickly. As this road has seen many accidents over a number of years, this would surely add another driving distraction to an already dangerous road. Norman Moodie.Craigview,Clatto Farm,Cupar. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

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

Readers' letters

September 12: Hypocrisy over Christmas celebrations

September 12 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - Before we get into the usual Christmas rush I would like to raise a point. A couple of years ago the council in Dundee was browbeaten by a group of Christians, prominent amongst whom was the Rev Alan Webster, into changing the title of its winter celebrations. Ministers and Church of Scotland members celebrated in their triumph. However, for the Church of Scotland, the celebration of Christmas was for over 400 years seen as irrelevant to the Christian faith and until relatively recently Christmas wasn't even a public holiday in Scotland. Now it seems that not celebrating Christmas has become some kind of sin against the Christian faith. Is it just possible that far from defending the Christian faith, there is a group of ministers who have little if any understanding of how Christian faith has been expressed in Scotland by the Church of Scotland and that whether one celebrates a particular day or doesn't was and is still seen as irrelevant to many Christians in Scotland? The forces arrayed for the celebration of this day and which insist upon the celebration of Christmas aren't necessarily even from within the church. Charles Dickens, for instance, who is regularly brought out with his Christmas Carol to harangue Christians and others into celebrating this day, wasn't even a Christian. The word hypocrite hovers in the air. A sin against the Christian faith? Aye that'll be right. Or as Job puts it to his supposed comforters: ''Surely you are the wise and wisdom will die with you.'' Norman Wood.53 Roundyhill,Monifieth. Better off if road tax was abolished Sir, - Road tax should be abolished and the tax transferred to the cost of fuel. We would be better off as it would get rid of an army of civil servants administering the system that Gordon Brown and his government made worse. We now have a virtual police state as we are all watched and logged by cameras and computers checking up on us all the time. Tax transferred to fuel would simplify collection and it would also free up the police and the courts to pursue the real criminals. Then there are the foreign lorries and holiday makers who pay nothing to use our roads. Every day thousands of lorries from abroad arrive at our ports and damage our roads why should they not pay? There would be winners and losers but the high cost of fuel is down to government not the oil companies and it does not matter who we vote for among the big three, they are all the same. Governments use the motorist as a tax cash cow to cover up their incompetence. It is time the SNP spelt out what changes they would make in Scotland. We don't want to swap one totalitarian regime for another. John George Phimister.63 St Clair Street,Kirkcaldy. Statistics can prove anything Sir, - I read with interest the article from Councillor Brennan headlined, ''Fear recession putting gender equality at risk''. In my opinion the article proves statistics can be used to prove anything. It shows 1,783 women are claiming job seekers allowance but fails to mention that over 6,000 Dundonians are claiming the same benefit. So, so using the statistics from the article, 4,217 men must also be claiming the benefit, plus taking the 2001 census for the city of Dundee the population of men was 68,038 compared to 75,352 of women a difference of 7,314 in favour of women. This means a much higher percentage of males per head of population claiming job seekers allowance to women. Looking at these statistics you could argue that it is the men of Dundee who are facing the inequalities. Statistics can be used to prove anything you like and are, therefore, dangerous to rely on. Allan Petrie.109 Blacklock Crescent,Dundee. What are we seeking? Sir, - Curiosity Rover's search for ''life'' on Mars presents a number of interesting possibilities ... and difficulties. In the first instance, exactly what is the basic atom-particle difference between that which is deemed alive and that which is described as being dead?'' As all known matter is formed of particle-circuits, then surely the only real difference is one of particle circuitry and nothing more? Ah, but what of intelligent life when the yardstick for ''intelligence'' is but a construct of man's mind? Perhaps Curiosity Rover should be searching for signs of love, joy and fair play. Kenneth Miln.22 Fothringham Drive,Monifieth. Vice versa Sir - As an ageing unionist/royalist who watched the final hour of the Mayor's Parade in London, I can safely debunk assertions that Boris Johnson is after David Cameron's job. David Cameron is after Boris's job. A T Geddie.Glenrothes. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

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.

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.