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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.

Angus & The Mearns

Man ‘didn’t realise’ he had knuckleduster on trip to shops

May 26 2017

Two Angus men who were arrested by plain clothes police while in possession of an array of weapons have avoided jail. Police recovered a surgical steel “credit card” knife, knuckleduster and lock-knife from Colin Chalmers and Michael Smith during “a trip to the Spar” in Kirriemuir on April 30 last year. The pair appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court and admitted possessing dangerous weapons on a summary complaint, which had been reduced from an indictment. The court heard Chalmers did not realise he had a knuckleduster until police retrieved it from his pocket. Depute fiscal Jill Drummond said: “At 9.40pm on April 13 2016 officers were on duty in plain clothes and in an unmarked car in Clova Road, Kirriemuir. “Police witnesses observed both accused walking along the footpath, and they approached them in connection with another matter. “Constable Shelman recovered from Chalmers a knuckleduster, from the left-hand pocket.” After officers found a knife on Smith, both men were arrested and taken to police headquarters in Bell Street, Dundee, and Smith admitted during the journey he had another knife in his wallet. Mr Drummond added: “It is in fact a credit card knife which acts similar to a lock knife and locks in place.” For Chalmers, defence agent Brian Bell said: “He does accept the knuckleduster is an offensive weapon, and he should not have had it in the street. “He seems to have had some degree of remorse.” For Smith, Michael Boyd said his client had used the first knife in his job as a builder, and “freely admitted” he had the credit card knife when arrested. Sheriff Alison McKay said: “I have no doubt that your solicitors will have told you the public cannot tolerate the carrying of offensive weapons. “I accept there may be some other use for a lock knife. “But a knuckleduster only has a use for inflicting injury.” As an alternative to custody, both were sentenced to 225 hours of unpaid work over the next 18 months. Smith, 24, Glamis Road admitted having a lock-knife and another blade, and Chalmers, 39, Prosen Road admitted having a knuckleduster on April 30 2016.

Angus & The Mearns

Homeowner suffers burns after chip pan fire in Arbroath

May 22 2014

An Angus homeowner was left with minor burns after their chip pan caught fire in the kitchen of their Arbroath home. Fire crews were called to a property in Chalmer’s Street at around 4.30pm on Wednesday following a report of a fire in a deep fat fryer. The blaze was extinguished by crews using one CO2 extinguisher and two breathing apparatus.

Cross-party group loses bid to secure legal ruling on Brexit

February 6 2018

A cross-party group of parliamentarians has lost an early-stage bid to secure a European court ruling on Brexit.Seven politicians from four parties, not including the Conservatives, believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally halt the Brexit process if the final deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons.They claim this offers a third option instead of Britain having to choose between a bad deal on the UK’s future relationship with Europe or crashing out of the EU with no deal.The group is ultimately seeking a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union can be revoked by the UK on its own, without first securing the consent of the other 27 EU member states.Their legal team went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh last week to ask a judge to refer the question to the Luxembourg court.On Tuesday, judge Lord Doherty refused to move the case to a full hearing at Scotland’s highest civil court, saying the issue is “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”.The politicians have a right to appeal against the decision to the Inner House of the Court of Session.The seven elected representatives who launched the case are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, MEP Alyn Smith and Joanna Cherry QC MP of the SNP, Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler and Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine. None were present in court as the judge issued his decision.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: “I am mindful that demonstrating a real prospect of success is a low hurdle for an applicant to overcome.“However, I am satisfied that that hurdle has not been surmounted. Indeed, in my opinion, the application’s prospect of success falls very far short of being a real prospect.“In my view, the Government’s stated policy is very clear. It is that the notification under Article 50(2) will not be withdrawn.”He went on: “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.”The judge concluded: “I am not satisfied that the application has a real prospect of success … Permission to proceed is refused.”The legal action was launched following a crowdfunding campaign and is backed by the Good Law Project.Project director Jo Maugham QC tweeted after the hearing: “It’s plainly in the national interest that MPs, MEPs and MSPs, who face a choice whether to approve Theresa May’s deal, know what options are open to them if they don’t.“I will support an appeal against this decision – to the Supreme Court if necessary.”

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


Majority of Tayside’s missing persons cases involve under-16s

April 5 2011

Tayside Police have dealt with almost 7000 missing persons cases over the last three years with nearly 4500 concerning under-16s. Details of the 6923 operations have been released following an investigation by The Courier, which has also revealed that one 13-year-old from Dundee disappeared as many as 47 times in a single year. A large number of the cases involved children of pre-school and primary age, with an Angus two-year-old being reported missing in 2009. The figures have sparked concern from children's charities, who say many young people disappear as a result of serious problems at home. Elaine Chalmers, head of the Scottish division of ChildLine, said, "The majority of children under 16 in the UK who run away from home do so to escape bullying, abuse, neglect, or family conflict. "We would urge any young person who is thinking about running away from home to talk to someone they can trust a relative, friend or someone at school or contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 to talk about their worries in confidence." Of the 4498 cases recorded involving children, 2378 were from Dundee, 1072 from Angus and 1048 from Perth and Kinross. Almost 300 young people in the force area have gone missing more than once over the period 154 in Dundee, 74 in Angus and 68 in Perth and Kinross.ProblemsAdrian Robertson, community safety inspector with Tayside Police, said that the majority of young people who go missing repeatedly were known to the social work departments of the respective local authorities. He added, "Many of these young people have issues and problems and are often in foster care. Fortunately, the cases of what we might call 'mainstream' children going missing are few and far between but that doesn't mean we are any less concerned for the safety of those who do." Mr Robertson insisted that there were outlets across Tayside that could provide support to vulnerable children and echoed Ms Chalmers' call for them not to "bottle up" any fears they may have. He said, "There are many services available for young people who need to work through problems and it's very important that we signpost the fact that they are there. "It's sometimes the case that young people don't know where to turn, but the message from the police is that it really doesn't matter who you tell about your problem as long as you tell someone. Sharing the burden is the main thing. "We're realistic that not every child will come straight to the police but they can tell a trusted family friend or someone at school. It doesn't even have to be someone in authority it's just vital that you share your concerns if you're in this position."

Perth & Kinross

Perthshire adventurer Elaine says home support will nourish her on daunting 70-day, 3,000 mile solo row

December 14 2016

Perthshire adventurer Elaine Hopley has never been known to turn down a challenge, but faces one of her toughest as she undertakes one of the world’s most arduous solo rowing challenges. The former Glenshee ski instructor will swap the temporary tranquillity of the sunshine isle of La Gomera in the Canaries for the wild Atlantic ocean. Over 3,000 daunting miles she will battle her way to Antigua and in doing so hopes to become the first female to row the Atlantic singlehanded in more than a decade. Hers will be one of a dozen boats taking part in this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge — though she will be one of just four solo participants. Others are competing in fours and pairs. The 44-year-old outdoor endurance specialist has spent days unpacking and readying her seven metre R20 Ocean Rowing Boat for the task ahead. It has been christened Jan in tribute to her mum, in whose memory the Dunblane businesswoman will raise funds for Alzheimer Scotland. Elaine said the departure from the Canaries would be the culmination of a year’s fundraising and training for the challenge of a lifetime. She said: “Training has been full on for the last 11 months and of course I have been securing sponsors. “It can really hard for solo rowers to get to the start line but everything seems to be in place. “I’ve had no nerves so far. I’m fine. I was working up to Wednesday last week in my home improvements business.” Elaine has been working hard to prepare her boat for the race and has seen it undergo intense scrutiny from event organisers. With the all clear, she’s raring to go but admits even then it has not been plain sailing. She said: “I wanted to get out on the water as quickly as possible to sample the conditions and the temperatures, but I’ve not been venturing too far offshore because the current will suck you away and you’ll be off before the starting gun goes!” Elaine said that while she will have a satellite phone, she will be out of touch with friends and family for spells during her journey. The nature of the challenge means that she will be spending Christmas alone, 11 days into a voyage of up to 70 days, though she has permitted herself some treats, including whisky and a Christmas cake, and plans to grow an avocado tree during the voyage. She said it was heartening to know that supporters back home would be following her progress and wishing her well, among them Perth businessman John Bryden and all at Bridge of Earn’s Moncrieff Care Home, who are among her sponsors. Mr Bryden said:“We are delighted to support Elaine’s venture because it is for such a great cause. “Residents at our Moncreiff Care Home in Bridge of Earn met Elaine earlier in the year on National Care Home Day and they plan to follow her progress on the race website over the next few weeks. “Elaine impressed me from our first meeting and she is determined to achieve her goals. “She is chasing a dream and has worked so hard to get to this stage. Now it is all systems go for this remarkable challenge and we wish her luck.” Elaine’s progress can be followed on the Talisker Atlantic Challenge website tracker while she continues to fundraise through a Just Giving page.   .   .

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.