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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...

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.

UK & World

Smugglers abandon tiger cub in bag at Texas border

May 1 2018

Smugglers left behind a live tiger cub in a duffel bag when they fled back to Mexico after attempting to cross the Rio Grande into Texas.US Customs and Border Protection officials said the male tiger, believed to be three or four months old, has been placed at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.Border Patrol agents patrolling on Monday along the river near Brownsville saw three people trying to enter the US illegally. An agency statement says the trio abandoned a bag and returned to Mexico.Officers discovered the cub stuffed in the bag. Agent Robert Rodriguez said that the tiger appeared calm and was possibly sedated.

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

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.

UK & World

Germany obtained sample of Novichok in the 1990s, reports suggest

May 17 2018

Germany’s foreign intelligence service secured a sample of the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok in the 1990s and passed on its knowledge to partners including Britain and the US, according to German media reports.Britain says an attack earlier this year on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was carried out using Novichok, and blames Russia. German newspapers Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit and broadcasters WDR and NDR said in a joint report on Thursday that the West’s knowledge of the substance stems largely from a sample obtained by Germany’s BND agency in the 1990s.The report, which cited unidentified people involved in the operation, said the BND obtained the sample from a Russian scientist and Germany then had it analysed at a Swedish lab.The BND refused to comment.

UK & World

Russia demands access to nerve agent used to poison ex-spy in Salisbury

March 13 2018

Russia has asked for access to samples of the nerve agent that poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.Mr Lavrov said Russia “is not to blame” for the incident on March 4.The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned the British ambassador in Moscow over the case, Russian news agencies have said.Mr Lavrov warned that Russia will only co-operate with Britain on the investigation if it receives samples of the nerve agent that is believed to have been used to target Mr Skripal and his daughter.Mr Lavrov said that Moscow’s requests to see samples of the nerve agent have been turned down, which he called a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production of chemical weapons.Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that Mr Skripal and his daughter had been poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed in the Soviet Union.She said Russia has until the end of Tuesday to explain how the substance ended up in Britain.Mr Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow is willing to co-operate with the probe, but he suggested London would be “better off” complying with its international obligations “before putting forward ultimatums”.

UK & World

Expelled Russian diplomats return from US amid spy dispute

April 1 2018

A plane carrying Russian diplomats who were expelled from the United States and their families has landed in Moscow.Russian news agencies say the plane that landed at Vnukovo Airport on Sunday was carrying diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington. A separate flight with diplomats and families from the New York consulate and Russia’s United Nations mission was expected later in the day.The United States last week ordered 60 Russian diplomats to leave, part of a widespread expulsion of diplomats by Britain and some of its allies in connection with the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain.Britain alleges Russian involvement in the nerve agent poisoning. Moscow adamantly denies that and has ordered tit-for-tat expulsions of Western diplomats.

Politics

SNP ‘sweeteners’ come under fire from Scottish Conservative leader

September 30 2013

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will criticise the SNP “sweeteners” being offered in the build-up to next year’s independence referendum. In a speech to a Scottish fringe event at the party’s UK conference in Manchester, Ms Davidson will discuss the vote, as well as issues to do with the education system. She is expected to say: “Facts mean nothing to them in their drive for separation. “They say we’d continue to keep the pound in an independent Scotlandno evidence to back it up, of course, but if Alex Salmond says it often enough then it must be true. “They said we’d be an automatic member of the EURight up until they were forced to admit their claims were all flannel with no basis in fact. “And what about all those sweeteners? Here’s just a few of themEmploying more Border Agency staff.No idea how much it would cost. “Introducing a fuel duty regulatorWhat’s the price tag? Can’t say, won’t say. Undercutting the UK’s rate of Corporation Tax by 3%. And let’s not forget their bolt-from-the-blue policy of renationalising the Royal Mail. “So what does it all add up to? £32 billion of spending pledges without any hint of where the money would come from to pay for it all.” Ms Davidson will also turn her guns on the Curriculum for Excellence programme.

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