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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

Readers' letters

April 12: Can’t compromise solve fire stations dispute?

April 12 2010

This morning's letters to the editor of The Courier discuss the Balmossie fire station campaign, Christianity, Forth Ports' turbines plan for Dundee and council advice on recycling. Can't compromise solve fire stations dispute? Sir,-Having written a letter of concern to your column during the early stages of the Balmossie Fire Station issue, I note with concern your front page article (April 9). The article indicated call-out figures for the stations involved but I have heard these figures do not include the number of call-outs Balmossie are involved in as back-up to other stations, which seems strange. It would also be interesting to be told who decides what criteria they use for selecting the station to initially attend major incidents, as I have again heard that the decision is no longer based on geographical area boundaries, which is also strange. As in all disputes everyone is looking to achieve their own aims; the Forfar community, understandably, seek full-time cover and those in Broughty Ferry wish to retain theirs. Could a solution not be found therefore to have full-time cover at both stations to allay everyone's fears by relocating resources from the larger stations and making savings elsewhere without risking safety? Denis G. W. Thornton.20 Colliston Drive,Broughty Ferry. No longer a Christian country Sir,-For Britain to have been a Christian country "for over 2000 years" as M. Clark asserts (April 9) is remarkable considering Christ's mission had not even begun 2000 years ago, when he was a boy. While the earliest hints of Christianity in Britain date to the Roman period, these islands remained largely pagan for centuries after the time of Christ. With the percentage of regular churchgoers in single digits, and the majority of those calling themselves Christian probably knowing little of Christian mythology and doctrine, it is an exaggeration to call Britain a Christian country now. I don't give a hoot if Christians have a parade, subject to the same bye-laws as any other group doing the same. But, as their faith continues its welcome decline, parading Christians will increasingly be looked on as irrelevant eccentrics. Finally, M. Clark, should not forget the origins of Easter - a pagan spring festival. Dr Stephen Moreton.33 Marina Avenue,Great Sankey,Warrington. Missing out on the joke? Sir,-Poor George K McMillan just can't win. When he tries to be serious his letters are a hoot. When he tries to be humorous, as in his letter about Easter, people like M. Clark take him seriously! Dr David Griffiths41 Haston CrescentPerth A religion under siege Sir,-Some of your recent correspondents have evinced a latent hostility to Christianity in the letters column. Atheists and sceptics there have always been, and I would defend their right to express their point of view. But today's atheists and sceptics such as Richard Dawkins et al, rather than supplying a cogent critique in opposition, tend to produce a diatribe. Recently the BBC televised a programme suggesting there is a subtle undermining of Christianity, evidenced by a nurse going to a tribunal to defend her right to wear a cross as an expression of her faith, and a London Registrar disciplined for refusing to conduct a service for same sex couples as it violated her beliefs. In a secular pluralistic society both the religious and non-religious with different lifestyles must be tolerated, I suppose it is a matter of political correctness. The downside is the increasing fragmentation of society to be seen in broken relationships, broken homes and broken lives, not to mention the recent fiasco of a number of our honourable members helping themselves to taxpayers' money. No doubt the relationship between the Kirk and the state has conferred certain privileges in the past and to some extent still does. Political correctness may hold this situation to account, but constructively the Church of Scotland is the largest caring agency, next to statutory bodies, for the care of the sick, the infirm, the afflicted and the addicted. Rev. J. Harrison Hudson.22 Hamilton Avenue,Tayport. No added value for Dundee citizens Sir,-I'm sitting at work in Edinburgh as I read the article 'Giant turbines plan for Dundee harbour' article with growing disbelief. The threat by Forth Energy to locate these on Dundee's unique waterfront has to be exposed as the unacceptable face of private enterprise that it is. Seeking maximum return for their shareholders at the expense of anyone or anything else may encourage an increase in the value of any imminent share bid but will hardly represent compelling value for the citizens of Dundee. Forth Ports have loads of land on Edinburgh's shoreline - can there be a compelling reason why there's been no similar application here, I wonder? Bill Potter.28 Howe Street,Edinburgh. Rubbish advice from council Sir,-The latest directive from Angus Council says we are no longer allowed to put tea bags, coffee grounds or fruit and vegetable peelings into our green bins, which, just in case you don't know, go to keep the world a greener place by composting the contents of the said bin. However, the leaflet also explains these same items make a useful compost for your garden. Aren't local councils wonderful things! J. R. Smith.44 Glamis Road,Kirriemuir.

Readers' letters

February 20: Press coverage of PC Wales case did not accurately reflect the situation

February 20 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir,- In reference to the recent court case and attendant publicity regarding PC Paula Wales, I am astounded that the press coverage adopts a tone of jubilation when reporting the verdict of not guilty, using the word 'exonerated' to describe the outcome for PC Wales. This word in no way reflects the situation. Here we have an officer whose duty is to protect the public from criminals who are a blight on the communities upon which they prey, yet she chooses instead to involve herself intimately with a criminal who is known to Tayside Police, a situation she herself is made aware of by one of her own colleagues. Therefore, whether or not she knew of an outstanding warrant is irrelevant. The public do not expect police officers to be superhuman, devoid of any faults. However, surely the most basic equation that any officer should be able to calculate is that of public and police versus the criminals. Hopefully the internal enquiry to be conducted by Tayside Police will have a broader remit than the limited charge dealt with by the court. Lorraine Sharpe.8 Peddie Street,Dundee. Salute to the firefighters of Balmossie Sir, - After the ridiculous hulabaloo that has followed the Audit Commision's report on Tayside Fire and Rescue, I was astonished to read an Angus councillor claiming to be apolitical when sitting in on fire board meetings. Quite laughably, he says he is an open-minded councillor who wants to take a fire engine from an area of high density of population within the City of Dundee, and put it in a town in Angus in his own area where the retained firefighters already do an incredible job. Well, well, well if that's being apolitical I suggest he looks at the definition of the term. I am so glad Fraser McKinlay (Audit Scotland) has come back to clarify the situation regarding the crazy suggestion that the thousands of responses from the public during consulations into two attempts to remove full-time cover from Balmossie were in fact from the FBU members were just nonsense. If Cllr Fairweather wants a platform to be seen to justify his salary then I suggest he goes somewhere else to do it. Either that or look at the incredible work the firefighters do at Balmossie regarding hundreds of fire safety visits, fires, and backing up incidents involving other fire stations in Tayside, which incidentally do not show up as turnouts in Balmossie figures. The people of Tayside fought and won two often bitter campaigns against a reduction of resources at Balmossie. I salute them and say to Mr Fairweather: stay out of our affairs. Ed Thomson. Balmossie Campaign Co-ordinator. Confusion over rail crossings Sir, - I am writing to point out a few discrepancies with your article: "More crossings could close". I have lived at Errol Station since 1976 and am fully aware of the problems of having to cross the level crossing many times each day. However, the photograph that accompanies the article is of the fully-manned crossing at Errol Station, whereas the incident with the bus happened on the unmanned crossing at Inchture. There have been many incidents of cars, etc. hitting the barriers over the years at the Errol Station crossing, but no one has been hurt. There has to be some responsibility attached to the drivers. A steady amber light preceeds the flashing red lights when the barriers come down with an audible warning signal. It would be impossible to close these crossings, as the railway line bisects the Carse of Gowrie. I, for one, would hate to see the crossing at Errol Station automated as the signalman is there 24 hours a day and has to deal with lots of incidents. Liz Bright.Errol Station,Errol. High honour for Karen Sir, - Mr Garry Fraser's review of opera is welcome. It is a great pity he didn't mention that Karen Cargill, Arbroath's international opera singer, is to perform the role of Valtraute (mentioned in the review) at the same Metropolitan Opera House in New York in April this year. Hasn't she done well! Ben Phillips. Easter Braikie,Arbroath. Hard to accept such profligacy Sir, - Like all taxpayers, I think it is an absolute scandal that some councils (not Fife) are sending delegates to a so-called "cost-cutting" conference in a luxury hotel near St Andrews, with one sending six representatives. At a time when folk are facing cutbacks and job losses, it is a scandal that taxpayers' money should be thrown down the drain by such gimmicks. John McDonald.14, Rosebery Court,Kirkcaldy. Calm before the storm? Sir, - How ironic that in your recent beautiful, sparkling colour picture of a wave electricity generator, the sea was as calm as a mill pond. Should Scotland gain independence, the renewables subsidies will have to be borne by five million Scots as opposed to 60 million UK residents. Could this become Scotland's Achilles' heel? Stephen Grieve.60 Nethergate,Crail. 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.

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.


Dundee station will not be axed, says fire chief

May 25 2018

Balmossie fire station does not face the axe, the chief of Scotland's national fire service has confirmed. It has also been revealed controversial plans to move an ambulance and a patient transport vehicle from Monifieth Health Centre to Balmossie will go ahead in September. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) chief officer Alasdair Hay said there are "absolutely no plans" to close the station and confirmed the two emergency services have agreed to share the facility. The plans for the shared location were revealed in February this year while concern had frequently been raised that Balmossie, the only fire station in Dundee with retained staff, could be closed. Fears were again raised recently when the SFRS launched a consultation on its future operation which included potentially building new stations and “disposing of others”. This prompted councillors from all parties in the city to call for assurances from the fire service that no Dundee stations will be closed. Mr Hay, who is to retire in March, said: "Let's be very open here. Balmossie is always the question that gets raised. "I can assure you that we have got no plans to close the station. Absolutely none. Any concerns that people have around Balmossie I can totally allay. "The reason this comes up frequently is because we had two consultations in the past about Balmossie. "The future of the station is further strengthened with the Scottish Ambulance Service set to move in in September to work even closer alongside our colleagues.” As well as Balmossie, Dundee currently has three other fire stations — Blackness Road, Kingsway East, and Macalpine Road— which also contains a control room handling calls from the entire north of Scotland. No decisions have yet been made on any potential changes to staffing levels at the stations. Mr Hay however said the consultation was not about cuts but was to "re-balance" staff. He said: "There could potentially be staffing changes yes. "But what we are looking at here is re-balancing the front-line. People often say that's just code for cuts. "It is not about cuts.  With the support of the Scottish Government, he have an additional £15 million in our resource budget this year. "How can that be a cut? We're spending more money on front-line services. What we want to make sure is that the balance is right. "Where we have whole-time fire fighters, perhaps we might need to have some on-call fire fighters and vice-versa. "It's about making sure we have the right skills to deal with the risks that any location faces and to meet the needs of communities in those places." Broughty Ferry councillor Craig Duncan welcomed the plans and said: "I'm really pleased to hear Balmossie's future is safe because it is perennially being picked on. "Having been and visited the station, it appears to have more than enough room for the ambulance service too. "I consider this development should it come to fruition as very welcome news indeed for Broughty Ferry residents. "They will acquire an enhanced community asset as well as others in Dundee and nearby and the staff of both services will be able to learn very valuable skills from each other." A spokesperson from the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We looked at options for the location of our new ambulance station when we move from Monifieth Health Centre later this year. "Following consultations, we can confirm our new base will be co-located with colleagues in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at a site in Balmossie. “Staying in the Monifieth area will ensure we can reach emergency patients quickly and will enable us to continue to provide a safe, high-quality service for all our patients.”

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


‘Surprise’ at station’s seven call-outs

April 13 2010

Tayside's fire board convener said new figures showing Broughty Ferry's Balmossie night crew attended only seven major blazes in the last year was proof of the need to downgrade the station. Plans to remove Balmossie's full-time night cover to allow a full-time crew to operate a day shift in Forfar were defeated at a meeting of Tayside Fire and Rescue Board last month. The Courier last week revealed that in the year to March, the Balmossie night shift dealt with only six fires in dwellings and one in a vehicle. Ken Lyall said he was "surprised there were so many." He said, "It's well known that it's a very quiet station and there are very few fires in the Broughty Ferry area, which is good. "But it highlights the fact that Forfar had far more requirement for their fire engines last year." Night crews at Forfar attended 13 primary fires in the last year. Mr Lyall said, "Forfar should be getting an equitable service to Balmossie. "Due to the decision by the fire board it's leaving us in a difficult position because we've highlighted the need for a dayshift in Forfar, yet we're rejecting the proposals for Balmossie." The rejected proposals would have meant a part-time retained crew between 6pm and 8am would have manned Balmossie. A petition collected more than 900 signatures from people who did not want to see the station changed, citing reasons such as the home safety visits its crews provide. However, Mr Lyall said the proposals would not have affected "any prevention work whatsoever." He said, "It would have removed a night shift from Balmossie where most of the time the crew are sleeping and moved that crew to a day shift in Forfar, spending 12 hours in the community. "The (fire) prevention that's happening in Balmossie and Broughty Ferry would go on exactly the same, whether the proposals had gone ahead or not." Mr Lyall said the proposal may come up for consideration again. "If the management have to come up every year and say what they think will best provide a service for the people of Tayside, it's bound to include the Balmossie proposal," he said. "I came in with a union head, but with that union head I can see quite clearly that the way ahead is the way that's been proposed. That will safeguard jobs and provide the best service for the people in the long run."

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.


Balmossie Mill flats flooded again

January 17 2011

Flates in a restored former mill in Broughty Ferry have been engulfed by floods for a second time in 18 months. Ground floor residents at Balmossie Mill spent much of the weekend fighting a losing battle against rising water that had submerged the ground outside. As they mopped up, they called for a thorough investigation of the problem that appears to be caused by water seeping up from the ground below their homes. Balmossie Mill sits in a picturesque hollow beside the Dighty Burn as it winds round a hill before flowing under the Seven Arches and out into the Tay. The Dighty was swollen at the weekend after the heavy downpour, but the flood defence wall between mill and burn did not appear to have been breached. Residents wonder if the problem is instead due to an underground stream being blocked, forcing the water to rise up into their homes. "This is a nightmare and it's the second time it's happened in just over a year," said Adele Davidson (33), who spent most of Saturday and Sunday trying to save her sister Arlene's flat at No 1 Balmossie Mill from being engulfed. Arlene was away for the weekend. A neighbour phoned Adele to say the garden outside Nos 1 and 3 was filling with water. She found the water seeping under skirting boards. Sandbags left from the previous flood were put in place and a unit from the nearby Balmossie fire station pumped the floodwater into the Dighty.