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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...

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch star turn at Highland Military Tattoo

September 2 2014

One of Scotland’s most famous regiments will take centre stage at a huge celebratory event this weekend. Soldiers from The Black Watch will perform at the first Highland Military Tattoo to be held in three years. The three-day event which is the second biggest of its kind in Scotland will take place at the battalion’s base in Fort George, near Inverness from September 7-9 and is expected to be a sell-out. The evening will kick off with a performance by a massed pipe band featuring the pipes and drums of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland; the Highlanders, 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland and RAF Lossiemouth pipe band, along with other local musicians. Highlights of the show include an RAF Typhoon flypast, an appearance by the oldest military band in the US, the Hellcats and a fireworks display. Members of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and Royal Engineers will also perform vignettes depicting the building of Fort George, the raising of the Seaforth Highlanders and the recruitment of soldiers during the First World War, while Battle Scar Entertainments will recreate a battle between Government forces and Jacobites. Further details are available at www.highlandmilitarytattoo.com.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Scottish regiment’s Second World War victory captured on canvas

April 24 2013

A painting to commemorate one of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ most famous victories has been unveiled at Stirling Castle. The artwork marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Longstop Hill in Tunisia, which forced a turning point in the struggle for North Africa in the Second World War. The painting was unveiled at a reception in the castle’s regimental museum last night, exactly 70 years after the battle, as a tribute to the soldiers who fought and died in the action. Robert Layden, chief executive of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Trust, said: “The battle was one of the concluding actions in the fight for North Africa. The capture of Longstop Hill by the 8th (Argyllshire) Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders opened the route to Tunis and the subsequent surrender of the Axis forces in North Africa. “The museum committee of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum decided to commission the painting recording the capture of Longstop Hill. “The 8th Battalion was recruited from Argyllshire and it is appropriate that the remaining balance of that battalion’s kilt fund was used to procure the painting. “Stuart Brown, of Skipper Press, who is a leading military artist, completed the painting with help from Major Duncan McMillan MM, who is the last known Argyll survivor of the battle.” The kilt fund was started after the start of the Second World War when the garment was withdrawn from the official uniform. The controversial decision provoked a backlash and a fund was created to provide enough kilts for the entire 8th Battalion. The kilt was eventually reintroduced with the creation of the TA. The painting will now be displayed in locations throughout Argyll.

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch CO’s Distinguished Service Order an honour ‘for all the troops’

May 11 2013

The Black Watch officer who led the battalion’s most recent operation in Afghanistan said his award was as much for his brave troops as himself. Colonel Edward Fenton was presented with a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) at Buckingham Palace on Friday for his “gallant leadership” of 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 Scots) in Helmand Province last winter. The presentation was made, fittingly, by Prince Charles, the Royal Colonel of The Black Watch Battalion. Col Fenton, 43, from Carnoustie, said: “It reflects the demands made in Afghanistan of 3 Scots and me getting this is really for the effort the whole battalion made last year. “The commanding officer gets to wear the medal, but it’s very much for the whole battalion.” Col Fenton had chatted with Prince Charles and told The Courier it was an extension of previous conversations. He said: “I met him a number of times throughout the last three-and-a-half years and it was lovely to continue that conversation. “The Black Watch is very dear to his heart, and having him (give the award) makes it even more special. It’s been a fantastic day and I feel very honoured.” Col Fenton was accompanied on the day by his wife Max, their seven-year-old son Will and mother Norma. Based at Warminster, he now oversees staff training across army bases in England and Germany and regularly visits Afghanistan to monitor progress there. He said: “It’s great to be still involved in everything because I miss the battalion and field soldiering dreadfully, but I still get to work with soldiers and get teams ready to deploy.” A former Dundee High School pupil, Col Fenton commanded the largest combined force in the notorious Helmand Province during Operation HERRICK 15 from October 2011. For six months he was in charge of 1,500 troops operating in the country’s Nad-e-Ali district, working with Afghan leaders to hasten the transition to their taking control. Their actions meant the citizenry could return to their normal lives without fear of reprisal from the Taliban fighters at the centre of the conflict. The battalion were involved in a series of conflicts as they sought to clear insurgents from the zone in which they were working. Col Fenton often led from the front and was exposed to direct fire and threats from improvised explosive devices. Despite the escalating violence in the region, Col Fenton’s command returned to the UK with no men lost.

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

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.


Treat for Scottish soldiers in Afghanistan

December 24 2012

Troops on tour in Afghanistan will celebrate Christmas with cups of tea in bed and a traditional dinner served up by their senior officers. Soldiers from the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 Scots) will be given the treat as part of an army tradition for special occasions. At main operating base Price in Helmand Province, privates and corporals will wake up tomorrow morning with tea and coffee served by sergeants, warrant officers and other senior ranks. The same practice will be carried out during dinner at the battalion’s main base at Camp Tombstone, where roast turkey and Brussels sprouts will be on the menu. Activities have been planned for the troops at both camps, including carol services, a quiz, football and volleyball competitions. Trees have been decorated around both Tombstone and Price, and soldiers have hung tinsel and signs in their group tents. Presents and cards from home have been arriving through Camp Bastion, with more than 130 tonnes of mail being brought into the military base for UK troops over the last week. Welfare staff have arranged for gifts to be sent to forward operating bases to make sure all of the soldiers have something to open on Christmas morning. Captain Gary Wallace (42), from Perth, said: “Myself and all the officers and soldiers of 1 Scots will be missing our families at this time, but we do recognise that we are doing a job out here and we’re focused on completing it. “I’ll miss my wife and daughters most and family and friends, and just being home for all of the Christmas activities however I won’t miss the Christmas shopping,” he said. “It would be too easy just to sit back and do nothing. “However, we’ll be making a conscious effort to do as much as we can to make it as festive as possible.” The 1 Scots battalion is on a six-month tour of Afghanistan, which started in September, working with the Afghan National Army in a mentoring and advisory role to prepare it for the handover of responsibility for the country’s security.

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch soldier dies in Iraq

February 2 2018

A Black Watch soldier has died at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has announced. Captain Dean Sprouting, who is from Denny, was with the Adjutant General's Corps  serving with The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland. The MoD says the incident is currently under investigation, and confirmed it was not the result of enemy activity. Lt Col Rob Hedderwick, Commanding Officer, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, paid tribute to Captain Sprouting on Forces Network. "It is hard to do justice to a man such as Dean Sprouting with simple words,” he said. "In no time at all he had become an indispensable part of the battalion, not only for his professional expertise but also for his compassionate manner and camaraderie. "His intelligence and sharp wit was apparent from the outset; there was an ever-present twinkle in his eye and he would gladly admit that his youth had been full of adventure. "Dean was simply one of those people whose infectious humour and enthusiasm drew others to him. "His professional knowledge was second to none and his sage advice already something I had come to rely on. "His loss is keenly felt by us all and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children whom I know he cherished more than anything else in this world. "I am hugely proud and thankful to have known him. He was a very good man." Warrant Officer Class One Tam Millsip, Visiting Warrant Officer, 51 Infantry Brigade said: "Dean’s warm, personable nature was never diluted while conducting his duties and those who he had dealings with were always left smiling after Dean imparted his unique wisdom and outlook on life. "Dean was a tremendously entertaining man to be around. "He would bring a great deal of joy and laughter to those around him often at the expense of himself; there was never a boring day spent with Dean and my thoughts go out to his family at this very sad time." Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said: "Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time. "An investigation is underway to establish the detail but it is not a result of enemy activity."