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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

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.

Readers' letters

Schools’ charitable status petition misguided

January 19 2015

Sir, In your edition of January 14 you printed Ms Ashley Husband Powten’s argument in support of her petition for the removal of charitable status for private schools. Her argument cannot go unchallenged. It is sad to see a graduate student present such a misguided and misleading case. Misleading in that she equates the real tax paid by a private school into the bank account of a local council with the notional tax “paid” by a state school which is covered by the funding for that school and is thus simply an accounting entry in the books of the council. Misguided in her pursuit of the negative politics of envy. If her petition succeeds the comparatively minor amount of extra money received by the council is unlikely to make any noticeable difference to the state education in that area even if it were to be entirely allocated to the education budget, which is highly unlikely. Rather, if she really wishes to enhance state education she should direct her attention to the problem so clearly outlined in Jenny Hjul’s article in the same edition of your paper. Instead of her misguided petition she should be presenting one demanding real action to improve the educational prospects for the children of Scotland, particularly those from poorer backgrounds. John Campbell. (St Andrews graduate) 5 Seggieden Close, Inchture. Not the cause of social inequality Sir, Should private schools have their charitable status taken away from them (Courier, January 14)? I read Ashley Husband Powten’s comments that these bodies simply help to perpetuate a “Scotland divided by inherited wealth and privilege”. This is an argument that regularly comes up every time the charities regulator reviews the operation of the independent schools sector. It is by no means clear, though, that the costs to the taxpayer of the system outweigh the benefits. Equally, it’s by no means clear that the money saved by removing charitable status would operate to the advantage of the state school sector. It would depend on how wisely national and local government decided to spend the money. Most families on average incomes would find it difficult to meet the cost of school fees, but that doesn’t mean to say that those who can deserve to be dubbed elitist. There is the important question of choice for those who are prepared to find or borrow the money to finance their children’s education. There is also the question of opportunities given to people from less well-off families with help through fees, and the awarding of scholarships. The causes of social inequality go much deeper than simply the question of who runs and attends a particular school whether in the state or private sector. Bob Taylor. 24 Shiel Court, Glenrothes. If you don’t like the price . . . Sir, I am a bit bemused by the accusations of profiteering against Stracathro Services, with which I have no connection. They are presumably in business to make money, so if you don’t like the price of what they offer you go elsewhere. I have bought fuel there only once, during my weekly Sunday night return to Lossiemouth, when, as was suggested, I had miscalculated the amount needed to get me to my usual filling point in Aberdeen and needed a gallon or so. I was very glad it was there and was happy to pay the price charged. Laurie Richards. 100 Crail Road, Cellardyke. Better off as part of the union? Sir, So much for Salmond and Sturgeon’s Scotland being independent rich based on the oil revenue which has now plummeted. Now the first minister is writing to the PM of the UK Government seeking tax relief for North Sea oil companies. Why? Does this not indicate that Scotland is better off as part of the union and not trying to go it alone? Where has this gone wrong in the SNP budget? Roy Moffat. Gilmerton, Crieff. A council initiative Sir, I refer to my letter which you published last week and am happy to report “business as usual” at Broughty Ferry Library in that I was eventually able to collect a supply of council dog bags. However, I feel compelled to respond to the reply to my letter in Thursday’s Courier from Mr Provan, a reader in Fife, whose interest in Dundee Council policy matters eludes me, who asks: “what gives me the right to expect council tax payers to pay me to clear up my dog’s mess”? An expectation that was not the issue in my letter, but which was written, in fact, to inform, assist and improve DCC in their initiative, in making bags readily available to dog owners to enable them to implement The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003. The council even advertise the scheme on every bag. What gives me the right to expect this service to be provided and managed properly, together with all other services that the council deems we are entitled to receive, is that I am, like many thousands of other Dundee dog owners, a council tax payer of long standing who, unlike some, has always paid his council tax. The council also states it appreciates our support in improving Dundee’s environment, the point of my letter. DGW Thornton. 20 Colliston Drive, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

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.

Readers' letters

April 24: Coming to the defence of overworked, under-resourced Dundee Airport staff

April 24 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - As a regular user of Dundee Airport I feel dutybound to reply to Mr Shaw's letter in Friday's Courier regarding industrial action. Dundee has a little gem of an airport right on its doorstep but I have always felt that it has been under-resourced and supported over the years. In recent years I can not recall any significant advertisement campaigns or attempts to bring new flights into the city. Flights from Dundee to London are three times the price of flights from Edinburgh. This is undoubtedly a failing on behalf of Highlands and Islands senior management and nothing whatsoever to do with rank-and-file workers at the airport. As for the airport being overstaffed, if anything I believe it is severely understaffed. Having recently been talking to a charming gentleman who assisted me off my flight I was shocked to discover that he was in fact an airport firefighter and that his duties also included numerous other tasks such as baggage handling, aircraft refuelling and deicing. Having asked around it appears that this jack-of-all-trades firefighter is an anomaly that appears to exist only at Dundee. Having read that staff at other Highlands and Islands airports are being paid upwards of £10,000 per year more than staff at Dundee it is hardly surprising that staff at Dundee are being forced into industrial action. I firmly believe that inequality should be challenged whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. I wish all the hard-working Dundee staff every success in their fight for fair treatment. Angus Fordyce.Camphill Road,Broughty Ferry. People don't care about breaking law Sir, - I was very surprised by the comments made by Labour MSP John Park about the result of average speed camera use on the M90. He finds ''an extraordinary number of people who are being caught by them''. It's really quite simple, John an extraordinary number of people don't care about speed limits and are willing to break the law, so they are fined. Does he believe this is unjustified and does he approve of his constituents breaking the law? Gavin Drummond.33 Edenbank Road,Cupar. Prediction of turnout hitting a record low Sir, - Helen Brown's article in Friday's Courier was a splendid analysis of the present appalling political situation in Britain ('So-called safe seats would be wrong to ignore this 'one-off''). Might I add two points? Firstly, we have too many politicians and their attendant overpaid beaurocrats. This takes a lot of money out of the economy which should be better used by reducing taxes and growing manufacturing industries. More importantly, the last 30 years have seen a tremendous growth of the power of the party leaders, leaving the indians with little option but to add to the warpaint of their chiefs. I am sure that Helen would agree with the obvious prediction that the forthcoming local elections will see an appalling if not record low turnout. The politicians have successfully switched very many of us off. Robert Lightband.Clepington Court,Dundee. No thanks to destruction of our heritage Sir, - I must disagree with Stan Blackly of Friends Of The Earth Scotland in his interpretation of public opinion (Saturday, April 21). There is little doubt that many people support some of our power being produced by renewables, but this does not equate with support for windfarms. If his company really wishes to protect the earth, how in the world can they be in favour of digging huge holes in our mountains, filling them with concrete and then topping them with massive industrial turbines? How can they be in favour of building great roads up the mountain sides to reach these? How can they approve of the removal of peat bogs and felling of trees to accommodate them peat bogs and trees being the earth's natural method of carbon capture? If they fear global warming how then do they account for the extra CO2 that the back-up conventional power stations will emit when trying to level out the intermittent electricity generation created by these same wind turbines? These are issues that many in the green movement do not wish to confront. Neither is it a good argument to call Donald Trump an ''ill-informed doom-monger'' when he is a public figure attempting to point out to our ill-informed government the error of their ways. I would suggest that Holyrood should be looking positively at making good use of the latest technology to use the reserves of shale gas recently revealed, which will provide a much cheaper source of electricity, as proven recently in America. By all means let us push ahead with more water power, geothermal generation and some biomass, but as for further destruction of our beautiful mountain heritage no thank you. Ann Cowan.The Old Inn,Fowlis Wester,Crieff. Easy way to avoid charges Sir, - Those who believe that the only reason councils put up speed trap cameras is to create extra revenue have the answer to their worries in their own hands just stop speeding. That will immediately deprive the council of that revenue. Alternatively, keep speeding, and maybe as a result our council tax bill will come down. Mona Clark.9 Millbay Terrace,Dundee 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. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

Parliamentarians plan appeal as they seek European court ruling on Brexit

February 9 2018

A group of parliamentarians plans to lodge a legal appeal in an attempt to secure a European court ruling on Brexit.The politicians believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally stop the UK leaving the EU if the final Brexit deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons.They want a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 can be halted by the UK on its own, without prior consent of the other 27 EU member states.The group took its fight to the Court of Session in Edinburgh but on Tuesday Judge Lord Doherty turned down a bid to have a full hearing on whether to refer the question to the Luxembourg Court, ruling the issue is  “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”.Now campaigners have announced plans to appeal against his ruling to the Inner House of the Court of Session.Two of the original group of seven have withdrawn – the SNP’s Joanna Cherry QC and Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine – while director of the Good Law Project, Jo Maugham QC, which has backed the crowdfunded legal action, has been added.The remaining five members are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, SNP MEP Alyn Smith and Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler.In a statement, Mr Maugham said they believe the judge’s decision was “flawed”.He added: “Establishing that, alongside the political route to revocability there is a legal route, is vital in the national interest.“If Parliament chooses not to withdraw the Article 50 notice then no harm is done by asking now the question whether it has that right.“But if Parliament does come to want to withdraw the notice, knowing it has the right to do so serves the national interest.“It improves the bargaining position of the UK, it ensures we retain the opt-outs and rebates that we presently enjoy, and it places the decision entirely in the hands of the UK’s Parliament and – if it chooses – its people.”Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the politicians, previously asked for the case to proceed through the Scottish court, arguing there was a genuine dispute between the two sides as to the proper interpretation of Article 50 which the court required to resolve.David Johnston QC, for the UK Government, insisted the application has no real prospect of success and that there was “no live issue” for the court to address.The policy of the UK Government is that the notification under Article 50 will not be withdrawn, he said.Finding in favour of the Government, Lord Doherty said: “Given that neither Parliament nor the Government has any wish to withdraw the notification, the central issue which the petitioners ask the court to decide – whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50(2) notification – is hypothetical and academic.“In those circumstances it is not a matter which this court, or the CJEU, require to adjudicate upon.”


Angry spat over future of Fife base RAF Leuchars

April 11 2011

A furious war of words has broken out in North East Fife, after Liberal Democrat candidate Iain Smith was accused of "blatant double standards." His SNP rival Rod Campbell hit out as the emotive issue of RAF Leuchars' future began to dominate the local campaign trail. Mr Campbell insisted the Lib Dem candidate had been "less than straight" with voters in a new campaign leaflet. "The latest Lib Dem leaflet tries to take credit for changes in taxation by reminding voters that the UK Government is a Tory/Lib Dem coalition," Mr Campbell said. "The changes in question were introduced by George Osborne in his recent Budget and Iain Smith seems happy in this case to be associated with the Conservatives in London. "However, right next to the article on taxation is one about the threat to RAF Leuchars. It posts Mr Smith as champion of the campaign to save the airbase. "Nowhere does this article recognise that it is the Lib Dem/Tory coalition that threatens Scottish defence facilities, not least RAF Leuchars. "When Iain Smith likes the actions of the London coalition, he claims credit for his party. "When it comes to RAF Leuchars, he pretends that he has nothing to do with Nick Clegg and the actions of the London government. However, Mr Smith was happy to laugh off the SNP missive. "This is typically laughable bluster from the SNP," he said. "Yes, thanks to the Liberal Democrats thousands of Fifers will pay no tax from this month and around 180,000 will have a tax cut and, yes, Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Ialong with members of the local community and the RAF Leuchars task forceare campaigning vigorously to save the base. "I am a campaigner for my community and RAF Leuchars is vital to our social fabric, local economy and defence of the UK. "The MoD have repeatedly said that no decisions have been made on the future of RAF bases, but that does not stop us from making the case for its retention. "Sadly, the SNP candidate has yet again undermined the efforts of those fighting hard to save the base."

Angus & The Mearns

VIDEO: Sadness as massive 40ft whale washed up at Monifieth beach dies

March 21 2018

A rescue mission to save a whale which washed up on a beach near Monifieth has turned into a recovery operation after the animal was found dead. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team was called to a stretch of shoreline between Monifieth and Barry Buddon shortly before 6pm on Wednesday following earlier sightings of what appeared to be a cetacean that had live stranded. HM Coastguard from Carnoustie and Arbroath were called to assist, as was the RNLI’s inshore lifeboat at Broughty Ferry, but volunteers eventually discovered that the whale – which has been identified as a 12-metre (40ft) sperm whale by experts on site - had died. Teams were out in the pitch darkness to try to secure the site, and warned members of the public not to visit the beach for their own safety. Paul Smith, the BDMLR’s Fife and Stirlingshire co-ordinator, revealed that an initial sighting was made by a dog walker at around 3pm, although he confirmed the sad news that the whale did not survive. “It wasn’t notified until later on but we’ve obviously responded with our team and we’ve found it subsequently dead,” he said. “We’re just doing a search at the minute of the beach to see if it is just the one animal, and there is a possible concern of things showing up on Thursday morning. “We’re keeping an open mind but at the minute it’s confirmed as one.” https://www.facebook.com/broughtyferrylifeboat/posts/1025381290942238 Whales are regularly spotted in the waters off the east coast of Scotland, but Mr Smith admitted it was not a usual occurrence to spot a sperm whale of this size in the Tay. “We get a lot of animals and there are a lot of whales traversing all these waters and these migration routes. You do get a lot of species and we get whales which visit this part of the world,” he added. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/angus-mearns/622760/pictures-photos-show-scenes-on-tayside-beach-after-huge-sperm-washes-ashore/ “But it is uncommon to get big whales visiting the Tay like this – they’ll pass by certainly but it’s not very often they come in. “The problem with sperm whales is that it’s the wrong species in the wrong area. They don’t do well on the east coast. “They should be on the west coast and there’s nothing out there on the east coast for them to eat, so it’s more than likely that it has suffered dehydration or starvation and it has succumbed. “It could also be ill, but we don’t know until we do a post-mortem.” Experts were expected to revisit the beach at first light, but Mr Smith warned people to stay away and let those doing the recovery do their jobs. “We don’t want anybody down there because this is now a biohazard,” he stressed.” “It’s going to start deteriorating -  you can get a lot of nasty diseases from these animals so we don’t want anybody down there.” The whale was spotted by a man who was walking his dog by the shore. The man, who did not wish to be named, said: “It was hard to see if it was a whale or not at first, even with the binoculars. “It kind of looked like a big log, but you could see the dorsal on it. “It looked like there were a few exits from the blowhole, but it could have been water hitting the log. “It was hard to tell because it was pretty rough, but I met my friend and we got the binoculars out and we thought it definitely looked like a whale. “We then met a woman and she phoned the RSPCA. I think it stranded a lot further up, because at that time the tide was receding and it had moved a bit. “It’s such a shame if it has died.” Article includes photos from licensed drone operator Rising View

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