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…
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
Edinburgh nearly snatched the victory they probably deserved on the balance of play deep into added time but a clutch of basic errors cost them dear against Munster at BT Murrayfield. Damien Hoyland’s last-gasp interception nearly produced the try that would have given the capital club the points but it was a host of fumbles and poor passes on a sodden night in Edinburgh that cost them the chance of victory. A try from Tongan centre Will Helu early in the second half should have been the springboard to Edinburgh going on to secure victory, but there were too many basic errors from Alan Solomons’ side and two penalties from Ian Keatley got Munster the points, despite the late scare from Hoyland’s intervention. A forgettable first half saw Munster score within seven minutes before the match descended into a dirge in the drizzle. Keatley’s excellent probing kick left Blair Kinghorn with no choice but to concede a scrum five, and when Edinburgh pushed too quickly Munster tapped and drove, prop Joe Ryan scored at the posts, Keatley converting. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne struck a penalty on Edinburgh’s first foray into the Munster 22, and the home side looked to get on top when wing Gerhard van der Heerden was sinbinned for taking Tom Brown out in the air. Instead Munster spent most of the ten minute spell in Edinburgh territory, Keatley kicking a penalty for a scrum infringement when the wing returned. Edinburgh needed some attacking territory but did get a boost just before the break with Hidalgo-Clyne’s second penalty to keep it to 10-6 as they started to get ascendancy in the scrum. That didn’t change in the second half, but it was a rare poor kick from Munster that got Edinburgh on top, when Cornell du Preez led a counterattack and put away Damien Hoyland up the right. The young wing beat tackles to take Edinburgh to the 22 and it was swung wide left for Brown and Helu to combine superbly, the Tongan getting over for the try in the corner. Hidalgo-Clyne couldn’t convert but added a penalty when Munster centre Francis Saili was sin-binned for killing the ball in his own 22. But the home side’s poor handling continued to plague them and two Keatley penalties as Munster started to get parity back in the scrum got his side back in the lead with ten minutes remaining. Having edged the lead Munster turned the screw and when Greig Tonks was yellow carded on his own line, the Irishmen seemed to have kept Edinburgh deep in their own territory to secure the win. But as the clock ticked past 80 minutes a Hoyland interception and chase into the Munster 22 brought Edinburgh hope, only for Hidalgo-Clyne’s drop goal attempt to be charged down at the death. Edinburgh: B Kinghorn (D Fife 55); D Hoyland, W Helu (A Strauss 79), M Scott, T Brown; G Tonks, S Hidalgo-Clyne; A Dickinson, R Ford, WP Nel (J Andress 62); A Bresler, A Toolis; M Coman (capt, N Manu 67), H Watson (R Grant 74), C du Preez. Munster: S Zebo; G Van Den Heever (D Hurley 70), K Earls, F Saili, R O’Mahony; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne (J Cronin 48), D Casey (N Scannell 67), J Ryan (M Sagario 58); D Ryan, D Foley; D O’Callaghan (R Copeland 72), J O’Donoghue (J Coghlan 62), CJ Stander. Ref: D Wilkinson (IRFU)
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.
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. email@example.com
Edinburgh romped to a impressively dominating semi-final win with five tries to book their place in the European Challenge Cup final in London next month. In charge in most areas of the game, they were actually not full value for their 21-9 lead at half-time and when the Dragons pulled back to 21-16, it looked like a real contest was in the offing at BT Murrayfield. Instead, under the weight of pressure from the power of the Edinburgh pack, the Dragons splintered and capitulated, shedding three tries in 15 minutes to turn the semi-final into a rout. Stuart McInally and Tim Visser bagged the first half tries with Ben Toolis, the increasingly brilliant Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Dougie Fife getting the three second half scores. All the Dragons won was the yellow card count, with three to Edinburgh’s none. The teams swapped penalties to open the contest but Edinburgh looked far more dynamic with ball in hand and got an early man advantage when Toby Faletau, the only Welsh cap in the Dragons starting XV, was yellow carded for taking down a maul as the home side pushed for the line. That allowed Edinburgh to grab the initiative with a storming opening try after 16 minutes. McInally started the move by breaking tackles in midfield and the back rower converted to hooker playing in his old slot showed up again later in the move to smash aside four players on his way to the score, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne converting. Dorian Jones’ second penalty kept the Dragons in touch but Edinburgh put together a concerted series of phases and showed great patience before Hidalgo-Clyne’s little back-door pass opened a massive gap for Visser to go in untouched. Hidalgo-Clyne struck the post with the conversion, but struck two more penalties to one from Jones before half-time, the scrum-half’s own snipe setting up the first and scrum dominance providing the second for a 21-9 half-time lead. The Dragons had to show some life, as they’d been the third best team on the pitch after Edinburgh and the half-time cheerleaders, and they quickly sparked in the second half. Prop Brok Harris crashed over after some4 strong rolling mauls, and Edinburgh looked a little shaky as they continued to give away cheap penalties. However Phil Burleigh’s lovely run on a long arc and combination with Visser nearly put the 10 in for the third score, Dragons’ scrum-half Jonathan Evans picking up the second yellow of the night for illegally stopping him. Still the Dragons seemed to survived only for Jason Tovey to take too long over a routine clearance kick, Toolis charging it down and just making the touch before it crossed the dead ball line. Hidalgo-Clyne converted, added a penalty, and then the livewire scrum-half ensured Edinburgh’s place in the final on the hour mark. The pack did the donkey work shoving the Dragons off their own scrum ball, but Hidalgo-Clyne’s blistering pace from 30 metres out was too much for the Welshmen and he scored under the posts, converting himself. Dragons tried desperately to rally but Roddy Grant’s strip of the ball in a tackle set Edinburgh in motion again and Fife was there to finish with a fifth try, leaving the visitors with just a third yellow card for hooker Rhys Thomas to complete their night. Att: 8231 Edinburgh: J Cuthbert (T Brown 51); D Fife, S Beard (T Heathcote 76), A Strauss, T Visser; P Burleigh, S Hidalgo-Clyne (N Fowles 73); A Dickinson (R Sutherland 73), R Ford (N Cochrane 73), WP Nel (J Andress 73); A Bresler (F McKenzie 68), B Toolis; S McInally (C du Preez 68), R Grant, M Coman (capt). Dragons: J Tovey (G R Jones 60); T Prydie (A Hewett 73), T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos; D Jones, J Evans; B Harris, R Thomas, D Way (P Price 48); J Thomas, C Hill; N Crossewell, J Benjamin, T Faletau.
Edinburgh moved up a place to third in the Guinness PRO12 but failed to really fire or get a bonus point against the winless Benetton Treviso at BT Murrayfield. The capital side claimed their third league win in succession but it was a flat evening at the national stadium with another disappointing crowd, the main highlight being wing Damien Hoyland’s brace of tries, the second coming off the final play to secure the four points. Treviso, rock bottom of the PRO12 and having replaced their head coach during the week, proved a tougher nut to crack than the home side might have expected, their well-drilled lineout drives causing no end of problems for one of the best defences in the league. However Edinburgh replied in kind and neither team had much behind the scrum to keep the small crowd entertaining on a freezing evening. Edinburgh’s best chances to get the bonus point they had to be aiming at were in the first half, but they just had one score and that was a salvage job tanks to a neat bit of work from Cornell du Preez on his 50th appearance. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne had kicked an early penalty before the scrum-half’s wild pass close to the left touchline was going in touch but batted back by the No 8 straight into the hands of Hoyland, who dived over in 17 minutes. Hidlago-Clyne converted but that was the extent of Edinburgh’s scoring as Treviso played the touchline and mauled their way back into the game with two penalties from James Ambrosini. Edinburgh had plenty opportunities, Hidalgo-Clyne’s thrilling break leading to a knock on short of the line and then Hoyland’s mazy run ending with a penalty conceded, again with the Treviso try-line within reaching distance. Just four points ahead at the break, Edinburgh asserted themselves with two further Hidalgo-Clyne penalties, but there was little evidence they had the guile to break down Treviso’s defence. They did finally bag a second score, but it can by way of a penalty try as Treviso collapsed a five-metre scrum just as Du Preez was looking to finish. Hidalgo-Clyne converted with a full quarter to play, but instead of opening out Edinburgh found themselves backtracking against more Italian mauls, Alex Toolis was yellow carded after one and Alberto Barbieri scored a try for Treviso in the next one. Edinbrugh finally settled down to force two yellow cards to Treviso defenders in the final minutes before Hoyland crowned his night with his second try, barrelling over from the base of a goal-line ruck. Att: 2800 Edinburgh: J Cuthbert (B Kinghorn 45 (A Strauss 71)); D Fife, M Allen, M Scott, D Hoyland; G Tonks, S Hidalgo-Clyne (S Kennedy 62); R Sutherland, N Cochrane (S McInally 63), WP Nel (J Andress 64); A Bresler, A Toolis; M Coman (capt), J Hardie, C Du Preez. Treviso: L McLean; A Pratichetti, S Christie, A Sgarbi, S Ragusi; J Ambrosini (E Bacchin 72), C Smylie (A Lucchese 8); M Zanusso (C Traore 73), R Santamaria (O Gega 51), S Manu (A de Marchi 54); A Paulo, J-F Montaurio (T Palmer 45)l; R Barbieri, A Zanni, M Barbini (F Minto 51). Ref: G Conway (IRFU)
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.
A group of parliamentarians plans to lodge a legal appeal in an attempt to secure a European court ruling on Brexit. The politicians believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally stop the UK leaving the EU if the final Brexit deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons. They want a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 can be halted by the UK on its own, without prior consent of the other 27 EU member states. The group took its fight to the Court of Session in Edinburgh but on Tuesday Judge Lord Doherty turned down a bid to have a full hearing on whether to refer the question to the Luxembourg Court, ruling the issue is “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”. Now campaigners have announced plans to appeal against his ruling to the Inner House of the Court of Session. Two of the original group of seven have withdrawn – the SNP’s Joanna Cherry QC and Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine – while director of the Good Law Project, Jo Maugham QC, which has backed the crowdfunded legal action, has been added. The remaining five members are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, SNP MEP Alyn Smith and Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler. In a statement, Mr Maugham said they believe the judge’s decision was “flawed”. He added: “Establishing that, alongside the political route to revocability there is a legal route, is vital in the national interest. “If Parliament chooses not to withdraw the Article 50 notice then no harm is done by asking now the question whether it has that right. “But if Parliament does come to want to withdraw the notice, knowing it has the right to do so serves the national interest. “It improves the bargaining position of the UK, it ensures we retain the opt-outs and rebates that we presently enjoy, and it places the decision entirely in the hands of the UK’s Parliament and – if it chooses – its people.” Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the politicians, previously asked for the case to proceed through the Scottish court, arguing there was a genuine dispute between the two sides as to the proper interpretation of Article 50 which the court required to resolve. David Johnston QC, for the UK Government, insisted the application has no real prospect of success and that there was “no live issue” for the court to address. The policy of the UK Government is that the notification under Article 50 will not be withdrawn, he said. Finding in favour of the Government, Lord Doherty said: “Given that neither Parliament nor the Government has any wish to withdraw the notification, the central issue which the petitioners ask the court to decide – whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50(2) notification – is hypothetical and academic. “In those circumstances it is not a matter which this court, or the CJEU, require to adjudicate upon.”
The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.