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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

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath pay tribute to Lichties fan Colin Mayes, who died aged 42

February 14 2013

Arbroath FC have paid tribute to a popular fan who died at the age of 42. Colin Mayes was a well-known face at Gayfield who often acted as a steward and helped out behind the scenes. He moved to Wales two years ago after finding love and marrying Christine. He passed away in hospital in Port Talbot after being diagnosed with a brain tumour and kidney problems. An Arbroath spokesman said: “It was with great sadness that Arbroath FC heard the news that Colin Mayes had passed away at the age of 42. “Colin became a well-known and popular face around Gayfield a few years ago as he helped out with whatever needed done behind the scenes. Our thoughts are with Christine and family and friends at this sad time.” Born in Sutton, Colin moved to Harrogate and later Dundee before living in Carnoustie and then Arbroath. Colin’s brother Bob described Colin as “one of the good guys”. He said his wedding day was the best day of Colin’s life.

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.

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

Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers 1 Cowdenbeath 3: Blue Brazil’s Nish sinks Rovers

April 9 2015

Former Raith boss Jimmy Nicholl used his knowledge of the opposition to inspire Cowdenbeath to a local derby victory at Stark’s Park. A hat-trick from Colin Nish gave the Blue Brazil their second win in four days and sent them five points clear of relegation rivals Alloa, who lost last night at Tynecastle. Cowdenbeath know how that feels after conceding 10 there themselves, so they deserve credit for the way they have responded to that defeat. “It was a really difficult March, but we kept some belief,” said Nicholl. “We’re coming good at the right time, but all I’m thinking about now is Livingston on Saturday. “I was thrilled to bits for big Nishy. I’ve always liked him even though he’s scored enough against us in the past.” Nish added modestly: “I was just there in the right place at the right time.” The Raith board and fans paid an emotional pre-match tribute to former chairman Turnbull Hutton, who died on Sunday, and the home team seemed to have difficulty getting up to speed once the game kicked-off. The realisation they were out of the promotion race also left them looking flat. Nish failed to capitalise on an early half-chance and then fired wide from a tricky angle when Sean Higgins appeared better-placed. Moments later, Higgins stretched the Rovers defence, but his left-foot finish was blocked on the edge of the penalty area. The Kirkcaldy club finally began to enjoy some possession, although Cowden comfortably dealt with a series of high balls slung into the box. A 28th-minute corner offered Ross Callachan two shots at the Blue Brazil’s goal but both were off-target. The pressure was building, but Raith were vulnerable to a counter-attack, and Nish made them suffer in the 33rd minute with a cute dinked finish over goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert. Rovers were rattled and fortunate not to be penalised shortly after half time when Nish collapsed like a giraffe. Urgent action was required from the home team, and Rory McKeown provided it with a long-range drive that keeper Robbie Thomson palmed over the bar. On the hour mark, ex-Cowden defender Dougie Hill nearly scored, but his left-foot effort was headed off the line by skipper Colin Marshall. The reprieved visitors promptly doubled their advantage, Nish rounding off a fine four-man move with a simple tap-in from six yards. He completed his hat-trick 11 minutes from time before Mark Stewart pulled one back near the end.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus hare coursers caught on their own camera

June 29 2016

A trio of hare coursers were caught after Angus police found they had recorded their illegal activities. Colin Stewart, Mark Stewart and Raymond Higgins appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court and admitted taking hares with three dogs near Kirriemuir on March 27. Specialist wildlife fiscal Fiona Caldwell said the Stewarts also took hares with dogs at locations across Scotland, including the island of Tiree, between November 15 last year and that date. This was admitted after police examined a Samsung video camera found in their van at Ladywell Farm, on the outskirts of Kirriemuir. Ms Caldwell said the men had been engaged in “cruel sport” when police intervened. “At approximately 8.30am on March 27, a witness aged 76 was at home when he became aware of the Stewarts setting a dog on a hare at Ladywell. “The witness was also aware of a vehicle, a Ford Focus which was being driven and was associated with the people in the field. “This was driven by Raymond Higgins.” Police attended and stopped the men in the van nearby, where they claimed they were searching for a missing dog. Ms Caldwell added: “It was then put to them that persons matching their description were seen coursing hares earlier, which they vehemently denied. “They were noticeably evasive after that point.” Two of the three dogs were in the van and Colin Stewart asked to retrieve the third which was in some nearby trees. “Shortly afterwards he made good his escape from the trees and was not traced,” Ms Caldwell added. Additional units and a police dog were called in to trace Colin Stewart but he was not found. The police later found footage of the Aberdeen men “posing” with dead hares and discussing the Kirriemuir incident on a video camera, and “extensive evidence” that both Stewart men had been involved in previous offences. Previous convictions were admitted for Higgins, 45, Summerhill Road, and Colin Stewart, 31,  Blackthorn Crescent; while Mark Stewart, 26, Clinterty Caravan Park was described as a first offender. Sheriff Pino Di Emidio deferred sentence to July 28 for background reports on all three, and admitted Colin Stewart to bail despite telling him he is at a “high risk of a custodial sentence.”

Scottish League 1

Cowdenbeath 1 Albion Rovers 2: Nish says his side ‘have to do better’

February 10 2016

A controversial goal seconds into the second half cost the Blue Brazil a point in last night’s clash at Central Park. Rovers’ Scott McBride looked well offside when he netted what proved to be the winner. It’s a result that dents the Fifers’ hopes of mounting a promotion play-off challenge. Cowden forced the first corner of the game in 30 seconds and Rovers managed to keep it out thanks to strong work by Michael Dunlop. Rovers got going on 11 minutes when Ross Davidson found Paul Archibald, but the outrushing keeper smothered the ball at the striker’s feet. However, two minutes later the visitors went ahead. Brad Donaldson failed to clear a simple pass into the Cowdenbeath box, the ball broke to Scott McBride and the former Blue Brazilian fired a 12-yard shot high into the net. Rovers went on to enjoy spells of pressure but Cowden got back into the game. On 25 minutes a Kieran Gibbons shot hit Dunlop and the ball went inches wide. Then, from Declan McDaid’s corner, Pat Scullion headed just past Ross Stewart’s right-hand post. Two minutes later Scullion met Dean Brett’s free kick and his header fell perfectly for Greig Spence who scored from six yards. On 32 minutes the Fifers threatened again when Spence laid the ball back to McDaid and his 25-yarder was saved by Stewart. The sides were level at the break but two minutes into the second period Albion went ahead with a hotly disputed goal. McBride looked to be at least two yards offside when he received the ball from Gary Fisher but wasted no time in blasting a 10-yarder high into the net. Home players surrounded the linesman but he was not for turning. Cowden had a spell of pressure without really working Stewart in Rovers’ goal and as the game started to get very scrappy on the heavy surface the nearest to a goal came from Albion substitute Andy Barrowman with a header which just cleared the bar. Cowden manager Colin Nish was bitterly disappointed with the result. “Conditions were not easy but we just did not create enough good chances. We have to do better,” he said.


Dundee water tests go swimmingly

September 2 2013

There were only two failures out of almost 3,500 tests of the quality of the public water supply in Dundee last year, the industry watchdog has revealed. The Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (DWQR), which is responsible for overseeing Scottish Water’s work in sourcing, treating and distributing supplies to consumers, has published data for 2012 showing 3,491 water samples were taken in the city. These were often from household taps to check for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria such as E coli and metals such as iron, lead and manganese. Only one of the 144 samples checked for coliform bacteria failed. The DWQR said: “They are common in the environment and do not necessarily indicate faecal contamination, but should not be present in the water supply as they are readily deactivated by chlorine, which is added in controlled amounts to all of Scottish Water’s supplies. “The greatest risk to public health is associated with the consumption of drinking water that is contaminated with faecal material. “Many raw water sources contain significant levels of bacteria, which serves to demonstrate the importance of adequate treatment, especially disinfection, in order to ensure our water is safe to drink.” The failed Dundee sample was among 61 found across Scotland during 2012. “Scottish Water has increased its efforts in investigating failures at consumers’ taps during the past year and this improved understanding of the root causes of microbiological failures needs to result in proactive action to reduce the number of samples containing coliforms,” the regulator said. There were 152 samples from the city’s water supply tested for iron, with a single failure that exceeded the limit of 200 microgrammes per litre. There are no health risks from such a failure. The DWQR said: “The most common cause of failures of the iron standard at consumer taps is corroding cast iron water mains.” The tests had no failures for aluminium, manganese or lead, or for E coli or chemicals called trihalomethanes. The colour, cloudiness and acidity of the test samples also met the required standards. The overall pass rate for the water samples from the city’s public supply was 99.94%.

Angus & The Mearns

Three men facing Angus hare coursing charges

May 26 2016

Three men are to stand trial accused of hare coursing on “repeated occasions” at an Angus farm. Raymond Higgins, Colin Stewart and a 16-year-old appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court facing charges of hunting brown hares with dogs near Kirriemuir. All three co-accused denied the animal offences at Ladywell Farm, formerly known as Wester Logie Farm, on a number of dates this year. Prosecutors allege that the men from Aberdeen travelled “far and wide” across Scotland to hunt the mammals, and one has been remanded in custody to await trial. Specialist wildlife fiscal Fiona Caldwell said the men originally appeared on a charge alleging a single offence on March 27, but the summary complaint had been widened to include “hare coursing over a period of time and on repeated occasions” at the farm. Ms Caldwell opposed bail for Colin Stewart due to a history of analogous offending. “The brown hare is a protected species under section 6 of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act,” she said. “Its peaks of activity tend to be in the spring and autumn, when the fields are bare. “At this time of year they are particularly vulnerable to this time of offending.” For Colin Stewart, solicitor Nick Markowski said: “I think a special condition preventing him from returning to the area might deal with the matter. “This would protect any mammals at the locus.” For the co-accused, solicitors Robin Beattie and John Hall entered not guilty pleas. Both men were bailed with the special condition that they do not dispose of or destroy any dogs involved in the case. Visiting Sheriff MacDonald set the trial for June 28, with a pre-trial hearing on June 7, at which all men are ordained to appear. Colin Stewart was denied bail due to previous convictions. Colin Stewart, 31, Blackthorn Crescent; Raymond Higgins, 45, Summerhill Road; and the co-accused of Aberdeen, all deny deliberately hunting brown hare with three dogs, Colin Stewart doing so while on bail. Hunting wild mammals carries a maximum six-month maximum sentence under summary complaint.