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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...


VIDEO: Striking porters sound their anger outside health minister’s Dundee offices

June 26 2015

A cacophony of horns sounded outside Health Minister Shona Robinson’s offices in Dundee today as striking hospital porters gathered to accuse the Dundee-based MSP of holding up pay talks between their union and NHS Tayside. Ms Robison was unavailable for comment, but Unite union representatives were happy to have their say on the ongoing strike. Spokesman Gary Miller the latest protest had been organised in a bid to secure a resolution to the long-running all-out strike, which has now lasted 11 weeks.

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.

Perth & Kinross

Woman fined for hitting fellow drinker with glass in pub

May 21 2014

A woman smashed a glass over another woman's head, a court has heard. Ashleigh Robinson attacked Robyn Rattray in a Perth pub on December 21 last year. She acted after spotting Ms Rattray kissing Robinson’s partner of six years. The assault left Ms Rattray with superficial cuts, which were treated by paramedics. Robinson, 23, of Green Road, Balbeggie, pleaded guilty to assaulting Ms Rattray to her injury at the Sandeman Bar, Kinnoull Street, Perth. Sheriff Michael Fletcher ordered her to pay £350. Depute fiscal Robbie Brown told Perth Sheriff Court: “This took place at about 10.30pm. The catalyst seems to be the accused’s partner, who was on the premises drinking and was seen to kiss the complainer. “She (Robinson) took a drink of water from the bar and poured it over the complainer and struck her over the head with the glass.” The glass broke and the accused walked away quickly but she was later apprehended and admitted the attack. Jamie Morrison, defending, said the mother of three had been under some stress. He said: “The last part of 2013 was very difficult. Her child was born with certain disabilities. “That was a source of considerable distress to her and regrettably, she sought solace in alcohol.”


Violent thug jailed for pistol-whipping incident in Fife pub

October 2 2015

A violent thug who put a gun to a man’s head and threatened “I’ll end you” has been jailed for five years. Jody Venters got in Michael Robinson’s face and started shouting: “Are you laughing at me?” Venters, 34, then revealed the firearm in the waistband of his jeans during the confrontation in a pub. He punched his victim in the face before pulling out the gun and pointing it at Mr Robinson and struck him with the butt of the weapon above his right eye in the attack at the Railway Tavern in Lawrence Street, Buckhaven. Venters was later detained by police and a search carried out at a house in Buckhaven where a gun was recovered that was designed to fire air gun pellets. Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson told the High Court in Edinburgh: “The gun was not in working order. It had a faulty trigger mechanism.” Unemployed Venters, of Dalhousie Gardens, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, had earlier carried out a knife attack on another man at a pub in Fife. Steven Gray was wounded on the hand as he tried to protect himself after Venters swung at him following an altercation at the Central Bar in Station Road, Cardenden. A judge told Venters: “You have pled guilty to serious offences involving actual violence and the threat of violence.” John Morris QC told him only “a substantial prison sentence” was appropriate. Venters had earlier admitted assaulting Mr Gray to his severe injury by striking him with a knife at the pub on November 23 last year. He also pled guilty to assaulting Mr Robinson on January 9 this year by repeatedly punching him, knocking him to the floor, presenting a firearm at him, striking him it and threatening him with violence. He further admitted a firearms offence and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by instructing an employee at the Railway Tavern to delete CCTV recording and threatening him with violence if he failed to do so. Detective Inspector John Anderson, who led the investigation, said: “Jody Venters is a violent and callous individual who has demonstrated his willingness to utilise weapons and cause harm to others.”

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

Artist inspired by the city of Perth

April 4 2017

An artist famed for his bright and quirky style has embarked on capturing the main landmarks of the city of Perth for his latest "bird's eye" work. Rob Hain was inspired to paint the city after a meeting with Mike Robinson, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) who are based in Perth’s oldest secular building, the distinctive Fair Maid’s House. Speaking about his work to capture Perth’s personality on canvas, Mr Hain at first thought Mr Robinson’s suggestion was “a mountain too difficult to climb”. “Mike persisted however and invited me to their HQ based in The Fair Maid's House,” he said. “After a guided tour of the oldest residence in Perth, which concluded in the magical 'Explorer's Room', I was completely won over and set about the task. “Three days were spent familiarising myself with the city, taking photographs and sketching a few notes, before I returned to the Wasps Studios in Selkirk to commence work on the canvas. “Finding a suitable angle which included all the significant buildings in the city proved to be quite difficult, as I had previously feared. “Then I realised that the Tay has a natural curve that embraces Perth. Everything seemed to slot into place after that. “There are many fine buildings, as well as some challenging but necessary new ones to be incorporated. But a city isn't just about its buildings, however grand they may appear. “The soul of Perth is to be found in its people; whether it's the Kilt Run or the Tay Descent or some other equally exhausting event, the people of Perth seem up for it! “Their enthusiasm is contagious and I look forward to portraying that unique quality in the coming months.” Mr Robinson said of the effort: “I am really looking forward to seeing Perth captured in Rob’s unique style and particularly to see how he captures the Fair Maid’s House. “Perth has some wonderful sights and architecture, my staff and I feel very lucky to work in one of the city’s most iconic buildings on a daily basis. We’re looking forward to seeing the finished painting and also offering Perth residents the chance to buy a limited edition signed print or even the original.”

Angus & The Mearns

£300 million Frank’s Law costs “very significant”

November 21 2015

Fife Council’s Lib Dem group leader has said he can’t see how Frank’s Law can be fully delivered in the current financial climate. Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said the predicted £300 million a year price tag is “very significant” and additional funding would have to be provided. He said it was with a heavy heart he admits it will be extremely difficult to implement Frank’s Law in Scotland unless full additional funding is provided. Health Secretary Shona Robison cited the £300m figure from work carried out by her officials and Stirling University’s Professor David Bell. Mr Brett said: “It can be very difficult to know when a person may die and therefore the current arrangements to say that people can receive free home care in their last six months of life is difficult if not impossible to implement.” He continued: “The other bigger issue for all of us is that while we would like to see Frank’s Law introduced, the fact remains that nearly all local authorities across Scotland are struggling to meet the needs of their populations at the present time.” Amanda’s husband Frank, former Dundee United and Manchester United star, was diagnosed with dementia at 59 and died shortly after his 65th birthday. The Kopel family paid thousands of pounds in care costs until just weeks before his death. The Courier has backed Amanda’s campaign, as have a number of footballing stars. Health Secretary Shona Robison said a decision on Frank’s Law could be made by the time parliament breaks up in March. Frank’s Law candidate Pat Kelly previously said the estimated £300m price tag should not be the project’s death knell. He said one person’s dignity “has no price tag” and that 1p on income tax could raise £330m. In response to Mr Brett’s comments, Mr Kelly added: “The Barnett consequentials means that £800 million will come to Scotland by Westminster, so perhaps some of that money can be ring-fenced for Frank’s Law. “That with the 1p in income tax shows there’s money there.”

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.