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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...


Carrie Fisher’s Dashing White Sergeant on Dundee station platform

January 4 2017

Carrie Fisher went from a galaxy far, far away to dancing the Dashing White Sergeant at Dundee railway station, it has been revealed. The actress, best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, died at the age of 60 on December 27, four days after suffering a heart attack on a plane. Her mother Debbie Reynolds died the following day after suffering a stroke. But is has now been revealed Ms Fisher enjoyed a trip to Scotland that culminated in a ceilidh on the deserted platform at Dundee railway station. Writing in The Times, journalist Roderick Grant recalled travelling around Scotland on board The Royal Scotsman with the actress. While The Blues Brothers star was one of the fee-paying tourists on the trip, he had been commissioned to write a magazine article about the journey. He revealed Fisher, accompanied by her French bulldog Gary, had been unimpressed by a visit to Glamis Castle — the Queen Mother's ancestral home — because of the dim lighting within the building. But that did not stop her splashing out £500 on a cashmere dog coat from the castle's gift shop before both Carrie and Gary took part in some Scottish country dancing in Dundee railway station. At midnight, an accordion orchestra led the 28 passengers on the £1,500 a day trip on to the deserted platform at Dundee railway station where they danced The Dashing White Sergeant and eightsome reels. Gilchrist wrote: "I partner Carrie, and Gary is here too of course, dashing in and our of the dancers' feet. Carrie appears transfixed with joy by this simple pleasure." Ms Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd broke her silence about the deaths of her mother and grandmother, who died within a day of each other, on Monday. The 24-year-old posted on social media site Instagram: "Receiving all of your prayers and kind words over the past week has given me strength during a time I thought strength could not exist.” “There are no words to express how much I will miss my Abadaba and my one and only Momby. Your love and support means the world to me.” A joint funeral is planned for the two actresses.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Bobbi goes bald for a good cause

June 20 2013

A 13-year-old girl from Arbroath had her head shaved to raise funds for Cancer Research. Bobbi Gray, a second-year pupil at Arbroath High School, was inspired by singer Jessie J, who shaved her head for Comic Relief in March. Since then Bobbi has raised around £700 from friends and family and a Just Giving charity page. The haircut was carried out at One to One Hairdressers on Arbroath High Street, with manager Elaine Curry assisted by Bobbi’s 10-year-old sister Charlotte and her best friend Ellie Williams. Bobbi’s parents, Jimmy and Sarah Gray, grandparents Morag and Dave Green and Helen Gray, and three-year-old twin brothers James and David watched as her brunette locks fell to the floor. Bobbi said: “This is an ideal opportunity to make people wake up and notice. “I have the choice to shave my hair off, but unfortunately millions of people that are diagnosed with cancer and who are going through treatment don’t. “I have already experienced a little of what people think about me shaving my head, and not all of their comments have been positive. Not only do I wish to raise money for this great cause, I also want to show people that looks aren’t everything.” After the haircut, Bobbi said: “I think it looks good and it feels cool.” Bobbi’s father, Police Scotland constable Jimmy Gray, said he was immensely proud of his daughter. He said: “Everybody knows somebody who has been affected by cancer be it family, friends or work colleagues. “Fundraising has led to massive developments in research and treatments for cancers and every penny really does count. I’m so proud of what Bobbi is doing. “Most 13-year-old girls would dread having their hair shaved off but not Bobbi. She’s determined to make a difference in some small way. She’s a very caring girl.” Bobbi is also planning on running the Race For Life for breast cancer with the Limelight musical theatre group in Arbroath this September. The teenager’s Just Giving page is still open at www.justgiving.com/BobbiGray3112.

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


Dundee FC beer festival pulls in the crowds

June 26 2017

Dundee FC held its first ever beer festival on Saturday in the Bobby Cox stand and in an adjoining marquee. The event allowed visitors to sample a range of craft beers, lagers, gins and cocktails. Entertainment was provided by a number of bands including Jive Candy, Paper Tiger and the Lawson Brothers.

Business news

Fishers Laundry Group gets technical with towels

April 15 2016

The bed linen and towels of the Cupar-based Fishers Laundry Group have been electronically tagged to improve its stock control systems. The laundry tracking innovation is the first venture in the UK by UBI Solutions, the French market leader for radio-frequency identification (RFID) applications. Fishers’ laundries will be equipped with RFID technology to track the entire stock of bed linen and towels. UBI Solutions RFID technology provides a complete laundry tracking system that shows stock levels, improves linen workflow, reduces losses by up to 30% and extends linen life. Fishers’ new super laundry near Glasgow has already been installed with UBI Solutions’ bespoke cloud based RFID equipment. The £5 million site is among the most energy efficient plants in Europe with the capacity to wash, dry and iron up to 600,000 items of linen a week. The plant also features high tech camera inspection equipment for quality assurance as well as the tracking system, which has also been installed at Fishers’ sites in Newcastle and Cupar. RFID tagging has been completed on all of Fishers’ own range ZHEN linen, the discreet marks allowing instant identification of thousands of items being returned to or leaving its laundries. Fishers managing director Michael Jones said: “At Fishers we’re committed to innovating and RFID technology provides us with the opportunity to better control stock, identify where each item has been, see how many times items have been washed and ultimately deliver a better service to our customers.” UBI Solutions’ business development director Renaud Munier said: “We’re immensely proud to partner with Fishers as our first customer in the UK market. “Fishers will benefit from our long experience in developing RFID Trace & Track solutions for laundry customers as well as for other industries. “Fishers will be able to take advantage of the cloud technology which makes it possible to accurately track the movements of hundreds of thousands of linen items.” Formed in Aberfeldy in 1900, Fishers’ customers include major hotel chains such as Premier Inn, Travelodge, Accor and Jury’s, as well as prestigious venues such as the Caledonian Waldorf Astoria and boutique Malmaison chains.

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.


“Give us our buses back,” say angry pensioners

November 1 2016

200 furious pensioners lobbied public transport bosses on Monday afternoon and demanded they "give them their buses back". Elderly residents from throughout Dundee attended the city's Maryatt Hall to quiz Xplore Dundee boss Elsie Turbyne and Stagecoach East Scotland commercial director Douglas Robertson on changes to bus services. Representatives from Dundee City Council were also present at the heated meeting. The public discussion was arranged after claims from pensioners that changes to bus timetables were leaving pensioners "prisoners in their own homes". Residents argue the cancellation of certain services, mainly deployed by Xplore, along with the restriction of others has made socialising and attending hospital appointments nearly impossible. On Monday, pensioners accused Xplore of "discriminating against the elderly" with the removal of what they see as vital routes. Several elderly public transport users told bosses they have had to resort to making expensive taxi trips to and from hospital due to "disgraceful" bus services in their area. One resident, Julia Lawrence, said: "There are sheltered housing complexes where people don't have a bus after quarter past two. "In all, they have taken 20 buses away from our area. There is no consideration for the elderly and there are a lot of people confined to their houses. We could be doing with buses for later on in the afternoon." Bobbie Clark said: "The routes are currently ridiculous. There are five medical centres in the Stobswell area and we can't get near any of them. "They are making a profit, but it's no good for the people using the buses. People are really really angry about what has happened to their bus service. "We know Xplore has to make a profit, but we would also like to have some sort of public service included." Fellow bus user, Tam Wilson, said: "We're not asking for God, we're only asking for a decent bus service. They want us to all sit on the couch like potatoes and think never mind. But we have to get a bus." Xplore managing director Elsie Turbyne said: "We are quite clearly happy to speak with the council and with individual passenger groups. "We very much sympathise with the elderly passengers and we take no pleasure in having to reduce the bus service, but it was forced on us by simple economics. "We cannot have services that are not covering the cost. It was always going to be a difficult situation, but it was never one we were going to take pleasure from. "People feel trapped in their own homes, but the reality of matters is that the patronage levels just don't sustain us having a door to door service."