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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

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


Broughty Ferry lifeboat crew sticking to terra firma for Barcelona Bangers charity rally

January 6 2015

Members of the Broughty Ferry lifeboat crew are swapping the waters of the Tay estuary to drive 3,000 miles through France and Spain in a car worth just £400. The trip which to celebrate the 50th birthdays of two of the three travellers is to enable them to take part in the Barcelona Bangers car rally from Calais to Barcelona in May. Coxswain Murray Brown, volunteer mechanic Ewan Mayes, 36, and Murray’s friend Dougie Bell have painted an elderly Lexus they bought into the colours of the RNLI and have named the car Broughty Ferry Lifeboat for the race. As well as aiming for some fun, the threesome are raising funds for RNLI. Murray said: “It’s mine and Dougie’s 50th birthdays this year and we wanted to do something different to celebrate. “Ewan from the boat is coming too and we’re going to do it as a bit of fun, but with the aim of raising money for the RNLI as well. We’ve paid our money so there’s no going back now. “We’ve painted the car in the Broughty Ferry lifeboat colours especially to take part in Barcelona Bangers. “It’s just a different way of raising money for the lifeboat and we’ll have a great time as well we’re all looking forward to it immensely.” Competitors will drive from Calais, down through northern France and on to the historical city of Tours before cruising down the Atlantic coastline to the glamorous seaside town of Biarritz. Then it’s across the border into Spain for the drive down the Costa Brava where they end up in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona. Organisers compare it to a challenge on popular BBC TV programme, Top Gear. Those taking part can use a car worth no more than £400, themed with the competitors’ own hands. More than 60 cars join in every year, although given they’re all bangers, many of them don’t actually make it to the finishing line. Murray added: “We’re opening a JustGiving page, and if anyone or any business wants to put a sticker on the car and sponsor us they can get in touch with us through the Tay Pirates Facebook page. “The car goes on the road on February 1 and it’ll be seen around the streets of Dundee until we head off to Calais for the rally.” The team’s JustGiving page is at www.justgiving.com/Tay-Pirates.

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.


Nature’s ‘toughest’ to tell story behind TV’s most famous wildlife scenes

January 3 2015

Celebrated Dunfermline wildlife cameraman Doug Allan will take Scots for a talk on the wild side this week. Doug, described by David Attenborough as “the toughest in the business”, will give the latest illustrated talks in the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Inspiring People series from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) will kick off the new year in Dundee and Dunfermline. Anyone who has enjoyed BBC series Ocean Giants and Human Planet will have seen the quality of Doug’s work. From scenes shot on the dizzying heights of Mount Everest, to close-ups of killer whales, he has provided TV watchers with some of the most memorable wildlife images ever captured. Now, Doug will tell the stories behind these images. His illustrated talk comes in the middle of a series of talks, Inspiring People, hosted by RSGS from last September to this April. The series showcases talks from explorers, adventurers, extreme sports people, geologists, entomologists and TV personalities who have journeyed across the earth in search of exciting experiences. Gemma McDonald, RSGS spokeswoman, said: “We are thrilled to have Doug speak for us. “It is unusual for a person whose work takes place behind the camera to be so well known by the public. “However, it is a testament to Doug’s ground-breaking work that his name is immediately associated with some of the most awesome wildlife footage that we have seen this decade. “We look forward to Doug’s talk as a chance to hear some of the stories behind his most famous images, as well as to hear his opinions on how the natural world is changing around us.” She added Doug perfectly embodied the Inspiring People series; as a graduate from a Scottish university himself, it was hoped his achievements can inspire the latest generation of graduates to use their passion and new-found knowledge of the natural world to raise awareness of geographical and environmental issues. His talks will be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday in the tower extension building at Dundee University and on Wednesday in St Andrews-Erskine Church in Dunfermline. More information can be found at www.rsgs.org.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

Angus & The Mearns

In photos: Christmas lights up Courier country

November 28 2016

Our photographers take a tour of Perth’s vibrant Christmas marketplace and witness Santa’s arrival (via monster truck) to Brechin, via Cupar’s festive launch and Broughty Ferry’s hugely popular light switch-on. Please enable Javascript to view this gallery© Steve MacDougall© Steve MacDougall© Steve MacDougall© Steve MacDougall© Steve MacDougall© Kim Cessford© Kim Cessford© DC Thomson© Kim Cessford© Kim Cessford© Kim Cessford© Dougie Nicolson© Dougie Nicolson© Dougie Nicolson© Dougie Nicolson© Dougie Nicolson In photos: City shines on Dundee Christmas Lights Night


First man to drive across the Tay Road Bridge is immortalised in song by Tayside songwriter

February 14 2017

A former Dundee student who made history by becoming the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge when it opened in 1966 has been immortalised in song by an award-winning Tayside song writer. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called Tay Road Bridge which features a song dedicated to Welshman Hugh Pincott, now of Plymouth. The song ‘A dragon ow’r the Tay’, tells how Hugh, then a chemistry student at Queen’s College, Dundee, draped  a Welsh dragon flag over his car when he made the crossing from Dundee to Fife on the day of the bridge’s official opening on August 18, 1966. © SuppliedHugh Pincott making history as the first member of the public to drive across the Tay Road Bridge when it officially opened on August 18, 1966 Eddie, who was inspired by Hugh’s visit to Dundee during the Tay Road Bridge’s 50th anniversary celebrations last summer, said: “When I read the story of Hugh being the first person over the bridge, I thought it was a great subject for a song. “ Hugh, who was awarded the first Phd from the new Dundee University, which also celebrates its 50th birthday this August, said of the song: “It’s unbelievable. I feel both humbled and honoured to be featured in verse and music by such a talented, well-known Scots artiste like Eddie. I am already collecting his albums!” Eddie, 64, says his Tay Road Bridge album should have been out “ages ago”. © SuppliedEddie Cairney But he is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. Last year he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. © SuppliedTay Road Bridge Other songs on Eddie’s Tay Road Bridge album include:  A’ doonhill tae Dundee –  a comical look at the outcome of Tay FM’s poll to find a slogan to promote Dundee in 2002. It refers to the slope of the bridge from the Fife to Dundee side;  A right royal landfill  – which takes a swipe at the decision of the city fathers to destroy the city’s famous  Royal Arch; Beautiful road bridge of the River Tay –  pays tribute to William Topas McGonagall and speculates that if had still been around in 1966, he wouldn’t have missed a trick; Fifies –  a nostalgic look at the former Tay ferries, and  Hanfaes  o’ notes – which is all about the alleged corruption at Dundee city council in the 1970s. The songs are available via iTunes – https://soundcloud.com/albdemec/sets/tay-road-bridge or via Eddie’s website www.eddiecairney.com A dragon ow’r the Tay Verse 1 On the seventeenth of August in the year o’ 1966 A car drove awa fae the Blackie tae be the first ane in the que Verse 2 He gambled on a day’n a half jist tae keep on the safe side And settled doon wi’ the books an’ the spam’n the juice But the polis moved him on Verse 3 But Hugh was not to be undone so he set his sights on 7 o’clock So he went hame an’e dreamt o’ fame then he timed it tae a tee Chorus Then ou’r the bridge went the wee black car Wi a dragon tae the fore fur abudy tae see As it gaed ou’r the Firth o’ Tay joinin’ Fife, Wales and Dundee Verse 4 Sergeant Noble said “you’re first to go” And Hugh said “oh I know it is the shortest route” But it turned oot someone had just tossed a coin Verse 5 Place was right but the reason wrong And Hugh had been right all along And the press jumped in and aff they went And the car started first time Chorus x 3 © Dougie NicolsonHugh Pincott watches traffic from the Fife side of the Tay Road Bridge