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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


WestFest efforts praised by Dundee councillors

June 6 2017

Dundee’s West End councillors have thanked organisers for putting on a successful WestFest over the weekend. Despite new licensing restrictions and security measures, the annual event, held on Madgalen Green, was attended by thousands of people on Sunday. Among the main performers were Rise Kagona and The Jit Jive Band, Kashmir Crows, Miami Vince and Bowie Night. Councillor Fraser Macpherson said, “It was great to see such a huge turnout of folk on Magdalen Green at WestFest's Big Sunday and the day was a great success. “So many local residents were there and that helped to make it such a wonderful day. “Thanks go to the WestFest team for again organising such a superb community event. “The team are all local volunteers and we all owe them a great debt of gratitude for all the hard work they put in to deliver such a great day in the West End.” As well music there were food stalls, children’s events and attractions, arts and crafts, as well as a licensed bar area. In previous years, the festival had breached licensing laws and Police Scotland said they would no longer turn a blind eye. Fences were erected to stop people bringing in their own alcohol and there was additional security due to recent terrorist attacks. Councillor Richard McCready said: “I want, as a local councillor and local resident, to express my appreciation of the work done by the WestFest committee. “Everyone who attended this event owes them a debt of gratitude. "This is a great event enjoyed by people from the West End and beyond. It was great to see so many local people enjoying this event."


Thousands attend sun-kissed WestFest in Dundee

June 4 2017

Thousands of people turned out for Sunday’s WestFest event in Dundee despite new licensing restrictions and security measures. Fences were erected around the Magdalen Green site this year to prevent revellers from bringing their own alcohol on to the site. The festival, which attracts thousands of people each year, had breached licensing laws in previous years and Police Scotland said they would no longer turn a blind eye. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/441600/photo-gallery-thousands-enjoy-fun-sun-westfest/ This meant organisers had to secure a licence to serve alcohol on site from Dundee City Council and pay to have fences put up. Security was also stepped up because of recent terror attacks. But WestFest chairman Ged Gourlay said the success of Sunday’s event means it will return next year. He said: “Looking at what has happened today it wouldn’t just be me that would be disappointed if it didn’t come back next year — the crowd would be disappointed.” * For more on this story see Monday's Courier, also available as a digital edition.


Onwards and upwards for WestFest in 2011

March 7 2011

Dundee's WestFest summer festival committee has revealed ambitious plans to become the city's biggest community festival. Last year's inaugural Westfest, which included open-air concerts at Balgay Park and Magdalen Green, was mainly restricted to the "traditional west end" of the city. Now, though, organisers want "anybody west of Broughty Ferry" to feel included in the festival, which is to be held from June 13, culminating in a large community gathering on Magdalen Green on Sunday, June 19. New chairwoman Paola McClure and her husband Alan Richardson are keen to attract people from across the city to the event. "This is for the whole of the city it's Dundee wide, not just those who live near Perth Road," Alan said. "And, of course, it's only a joke about it being for west of Broughty Ferry people from the Ferry would be very welcome to join in the fun. "We want to extend the event at Magdalen Green and we had a really positive meeting with the council this week over some of the changes we want to make." Paola added, "We need more volunteers to help out, though, as it will be quite a big event on the Sunday." Included among the plans are a secret world record attempt, details of which will be released at the event's official launch in a few weeks' time. Other plans include a giant outdoor art "exhibition" involving an iconic Dundee image on the football pitch area on Riverside that will be best seen from the air, a food, drink and farmers' market, vintage car show, community groups area and a commercial, retail and sponsors' area. A special Courier Rocktalk stage will host some of Dundee's best up-and-coming and homegrown talent. Dundee-born actor Brian Cox is the festival's patron and was at the event last year. It is hoped he will be able to attend once again.Stay up to date on plans at www.dundeewestfest.com


WestFest fun attracts thousands to Magdalen Green

June 9 2014

Dundee WestFest rocked in the sun (and for a couple of brief spells rolled in the rain) as thousands flocked to Magdalen Green for Big Sunday. Organisers hailed it the best yet, with families enjoying the stalls and activities, including live music on the main stage from seven bands. A bouncy castle, a roller-sledge run and face painting were the biggest attractions of the day for the multitude of children, while Arbroath smokies, crepes, the vintage tearoom and burger stalls all proved popular with the adults. Live music on the main stage was provided by Angus band Around 7, Dundee’s Syann Gilroy, The Alley, Boogalusa, Buffalo Soldiers, Vanishing People and Abandon, along with Sienna from Kinross. Chairwoman Paola McClure said: “It was fantastic from start to finish and the stallholders were all busy. I think the crowds have been amazing, probably the busiest yet.”


WestFest thrown a lifeline as volunteers pledge their support

September 25 2015

Dundee WestFest has been granted a new lease of life after emergency talks. Festival co-chairman Alan Richardson said “things were looking much brighter” after 50 people packed out Blackness Library. The Courier reported earlier this month that things looked bleak for WestFest after organisers Mr Richardson and his partner Paola McClure said they may have been forced to call time due to a lack of funding and volunteers. Their revelations followed on from July’s gathering which saw swathes of volunteers pull out at the last minute, leaving organisers overrun by 9,000 revellers. A lack of toilets combined with insufficient parking for visitors also cast serious doubts over the festival’s future. Now, after more than 15 people put their names forward to become new committee members, Mr Richardson feels the sun may well shine on WestFest once again. Mr Richardson said: “I think things look a lot more promising now than they did before this meeting. “The turnout may not have been great, but I think we have the cream of the crop if the amount of volunteers is anything to go by. “The amount of hands that went up to join the committee will quadruple the current committee numbers. “There’s still an issue with funding and it’s too early to comment on next year, but I’m pleased. “We could always do with more, but there’s quite a positive feel about WestFest once again.” Among those sharing their suggestions to boost the event was Celebrity MasterChef champion Jamie Scott and his wife, Kelly. The Arbroath-based chef volunteered to take part in a “pop up kitchen” at next year’s festival to help raise funds. He told The Courier: “I attended WestFest last year and really enjoyed it. “There’s a nice community feel about it. I’d be happy to take part in some sort of Dundee All Star kitchen theme and contact friends of mine to take part as well. “I’m confident that this would raise the kind of money needed to pay for things like toilets for the site.” The meeting was rounded off with both Alan and Paola stepping down as chairs of the group and the appointment of Ged Gourlay as the new chairman.


Problems for WestFest as committee members step down

September 8 2016

The future of a popular West-End festival is under threat after several committee members announced they were to retire from the board. More than half a dozen WestFest committee places will need to be filled after several board members announced their intention to step down at the upcoming AGM. The departing committee members have said they are stepping aside to allow "new blood" to join the community festival board. Several positions, including the treasurer's post, will need to be filled to compliment the festival committee. Chairperson Ged Gourlay said: “At the last meeting there were a number of committee members who said they were stepping down from the committee and as such we are now looking to find replacements to fill their roles for the forthcoming year. “All of us at Westfest would like to thank the retiring members for their hard work and dedication in making Westfest what it is today, a fixture in the calendar not only for the people in the west end of Dundee but for the whole of Dundee and beyond. “In particular, we would like to thank former joint chairpersons Paola McClure and Alan Richardson, who were responsible for building up the festival to its current successful level. “Picking up the reins from the founder members, Alan and Paola steered Westfest on a path which saw the festival rise from attracting crowds of a few hundred five years ago to more than 10,000 in 2015 and 2016. “While they both stepped down as joint chairpersons at last year’s AGM they remained on the committee and continued to fill vital roles throughout the preparations for this year and on the Big Sunday itself. “We will also be sorry to lose such good and loyal servants Rhoda Miller, treasurer Sandy Greenhorn, Peter Menzies and Mairi Fraser, along with some others who joined more recently. “Obviously it is now very important that we can attract equally good people to come on to the committee and ensure that Westfest will continue as a major gala occasion for the people of Dundee for many years to come. “We would therefore appeal to the people of the west end of the city and beyond, from any walk of life, to come along and volunteer their services.” WestFest has been running annually since 2010, after founding members Liz Broumley and the late Kay Macfarlane noted a lack of events celebrating what the west-end had to offer. More than 70 events took place during the festival week in June, with the Big Sunday gala day ending the week with a gathering on Magdalen Green. The 2016 AGM will be held on September 14 at Blackness Library at 7pm. Anyone who is interested in attending can find more information at the WestFest website.


WestFest Battle of Bands heats up

April 3 2015

The first of four heats of Dundee WestFest’s Battle of the Bands has taken place at Buskers on Ward Road. Bands taking part were Elements, Dirty Judas, Bruised Skies, Around 7, Melophobia and Red Epidemic. Other heats take place on April 8, 15 and 22, with semi-finals on May 7 and 10 and the final on May 22. The first prize is a slot on the main stage at WestFest’s Big Sunday on June 7 at Magdalen Green, Dundee’s largest free music event. The winner will also get a three-track mixed and mastered EP courtesy of Dundee Music Studios and a launch party at Buskers.


West End of Dundee hit by ‘Paris’ graffiti tag

January 3 2015

A Dundee garage is among the targets of a fresh spate of vandalism in the city’s west end. Businesses, walls and even a parked vehicle have been hit with the “Paris” graffiti tag over the last week. Staff at the MOT service and repair centre in Fyffe Street discovered the new 6ft graffiti shortly after Christmas. Employee Harry Donald said: “We spent a fortune painting the walls. There’s no point in covering it over, it will just happen again.” The building, which was targeted in the past by three separate incidents of fireraising in a week in 2013, was recently repainted at a cost of more than £400. Mr Donald said: “It’s not like they’ve not been in a hurry doing it, they’ve stood there for a while and done it nice and neat.” The vandal has also struck nearby, including a wall in Milnbank Road and a van in Brewery Lane. The west end has been a magnet for vandals in recent years. The latest figures presented by police to the west end local community showed there were 37 reported cases of vandalism in the area between August and October, a rise of six from the previous quarter. West end ward councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “It’s very dispiriting to see any resurrection of this sort of problem. Thankfully, we’ve had a good few months of very little in the way of graffiti. “If anybody has seen anything that would lead to police tracking down the perpetrators, I would urge them to contact officers. It’s just mindless vandalism and there’s a cost to both the public purse and private owners.” A police spokeswoman said: “We send out a clear message to vandals that there is nothing artistic or clever in damaging or defacing other people’s property. It is vandalism, it is anti-social behaviour, an eyesore and, be in no doubt, it is a crime and one that costs individuals or organisations significant amounts of money to put right. “If you see someone involved in this type of antisocial behaviour, or perhaps acting suspiciously with spray cans and/or stencils, contact police on 101. Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”