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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


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Dundee third luckiest lottery city in Scotland

May 19 2016

Dundee is the third luckiest city in Scotland, according to figures from the National Lottery. The post code area of DD had the third highest ratio of big money winners in Scotland over the last two years. Just behind Dundee is Kirkcaldy (KY) in the Scottish rankings, while DD is the sixth place in the UK overall. The figures are based on who has bagged £50,000 or more per head of population in each post code area. Some of the recent winners from the Dundee area include Scotland’s newest multi-millionaire John Bowman from Forfar who scooped over £10 million in the lotto, and lorry driver Raymond Storey from Dundee who collected £1 million from EuroMillions. Andy Carter, senior winners’ advisor for the lottery, said: “Residents of Dundee have been enjoying plenty of National Lottery luck recently, so much so they are one of the luckiest postcodes in the UK. With plenty of big money wins and three millionaires created over the last two years, they have lots to celebrate." As well as the players taking home prizes, local projects also benefited from the lottery's financial support. Last year, £842,363 were spread across 57 grants in Dundee and Angus.

Readers' letters

July 24: Ensuring money goes to the right areas

July 24 2010

The week ends with letters discussing the future of lottery funding, Ashludie Hospital, waste recycling, David Cameron's trip to the US and praise for the clean-up operation after the Perth floods. Ensuring money goes to the right areas Sir,-I am writing in response to an article in The Courier of July 22. Reports that the coalition government intends to bar lottery distributors from funding projects linked to the public sector are untrue. However, we are committed to reforming the National Lottery so that more money goes into sport, the arts and heritage, bringing it back to how it was originally conceived. We have already announced a mechanism for achieving this and we are currently consulting on when this should be introduced. We want to see a rise in the amount of funding going to voluntary and community organisations and we want to ensure that cash funds to that sector are protected by BIG lottery's support being focused on the voluntary and community sector. It is a matter for the Big Lottery Fund as to how they distribute the money to small and large projects. I am a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow and hope that the Big Lottery will continue to support projects related to it. David Mundell.Under Secretary of State. Anxious time for patients Sir,-I belatedly, but wholeheartedly, concur with the comment by Mrs Easton about Ashludie Hospital ward closures in The Courier July 15. My wife Patricia was a resident briefly in Ward 9 and then Ward 3, for the last seven years of her life. Moving immobile stroke patients from a bright and airy brick-built construction into a physically depressing environment of mainly wooden construction, and mixing them with patients suffering psychological problems appears to be unfortunate at best, and must adversely affect the well-being of patients from Ward 1 to say nothing of the patients in Ward 7. The nursing staff in Wards 1 and 3, and previously Wards 2 and 4 have long ensured a bright, cheerful and caring environment for patients while facing uncertainty about Ashludie's future role. The anxiety of patients' families is heightened also by the apparent vicissitude of those in authority to resolve the problem of the future for elderly disabled patients needing 24/7 NHS Nursing care in Angus. Harry Davey.12 Dores Drive,Broughty Ferry. Doesn't add up! Sir,-Having had only one out of two of our garden waste recycling bins collected the other day and being told by the binman that they were now to empty only one bin per household, I was rather annoyed and a little bemused to then open The Courier to see a cast of thousands trumpeting the redevelopment of the Friarton waste depot. Could someone please explain to me, and to the many other householders who were also left with a bin full of stinking household and garden waste, why we are now only to have one bin collected when this redeveloped site will, according to Environment Convener, Councillor Alan Grant, increase the area's recycling and composting rate to meet the Scottish Government target of 50% by 2013? (Mrs) Jill Mackay.Stormontfield,Orchil Road,Auchterarder. Just another US poodle Sir,-There can be little doubt that David Cameron's visit to America has turned into a shambles. Not only has he reaffirmed the UK's junior status in its relationship with the US, to the chagrin of many, but Mr Cameron has also managed to deeply offend those who fought in the second world war; sow confusion over the war in Afghanistan; and trash the reputation of Scotland and Scots Law whilst being embarrassingly forced to meet US senators. All within 48 hours of landing in Washington! The Prime Minister may have proved to himself he is a good friend of America, but there is no doubt back home that Mr Cameron is now seen as just another poodle of a US president. Malcolm McCandless.40 Muirfield Crescent,Dundee. Great work in flood clean-up Sir,-On behalf of the Fairfield community I would like to express my sincere gratitude to both Tayside Fire Brigade and Perth and Kinross Council for the highly professional way in which they acted during the floods which beset Perth on Wednesday and the ongoing clean-up operation. The prompt response of the emergency services to what could have been a devastating course of events was excellent and kept stress levels of our residents to a minimum in very trying circumstances. Grant Ager.(Director).5 Fairfield Avenue,Perth. 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

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

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

Perth & Kinross

Lottery backing for Black Watch Museum plans

April 5 2011

Plans to transform the Black Watch Museum are gathering momentum, with funds topping £2 million and a further £750,000 lottery bid clearing its first hurdle. The Black Watch Heritage Appeal needs to raise £3.2 million to buy and develop Balhousie Castle to provide a permanent home for the museum and archive of the regiment in its traditional heartland. Backers want to expand the castle buildings to offer extra educational space and archive research space, as well as improving the retail and catering facilities and creating more parking space for the expected extra influx of visitors. Black Watch Museum Trust chief executive Alfie Ianetta has revealed the £750,000 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund had passed on to the second round. He said, "It's passed stage one which is an indication of support and a green light to take it to stage two. "They're now looking for more detail and we have up to two years to work through our plans and put more meat on the bones. "They're wanting to know what we're going to do and the themes we'll have and the displays we will put on and how we will engage the general public more than we are doing at the moment." He added, "We know from the Heritage Lottery Fund perspective, everything we're wanting to do is the kind of thing they're looking to support in terms of education and heritage. We are making sure we have the facilities here to cope with doubling the numbers visiting in the next five years."'Really positive'Mr Ianetta is hopeful of local help meeting the shortfall in funding, which will exist even if the lottery bid does succeed. He said, "We're really positive about how things are but we've a bit still to go and we're looking for extra funds and also extra volunteers we need as many people as possible to help. "We'd prefer all the money was in place before we start and we hope with the help of local trusts and big charitable trusts we can bridge the gap." Mr Ianetta outlined the plans to Perthshire North parliamentary candidate John Swinney, who was enthusiastic about the museum scheme. Mr Swinney said, "The Black Watch has such a presence and resonance in Perthshire and it is fantastic that a facility like the museum in historic Balhousie Castle exists in Perth. "The museum itself is home to two and a half centuries of treasures from Scotland's oldest Highland regiment." He added, "I hope that the second round of the process for funding the redevelopment project is successful and I will certainly pledge my support to these efforts and will do what I can to assist."

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.