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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.

Readers' letters

January 26: Surely Arbroath is the most suitable venue for Year of Homecoming?

January 26 2012

Today’s letters to The Courier. Sir, – So Dunfermline has been proposed by its MSP as the ideal candidate to be the home of the Year of Homecoming 2014. May I suggest that the Arbroath MSP Graeme Dey puts forward Arbroath as the most suitable venue? After all, the Declaration of Arbroath along with Arbroath Abbey would be a fitting venue for such an event. Fiona Hyslop herself thought it was excellent as she took and presented a special copy of The Declaration on her recent visit to America. The Declaration of Arbroath is looked upon as being the birth of democracy in Scotland, and perhaps even further afield, and responsible for the basis of the American Declaration of Independence. Americans will make up the majority of visitors to The Homecoming, so what better connection do you need? My only concern is the part played, or in this case not played, by Angus Council. They make a big thing of their Tartan Week, but only allocate a budget of £16,000 for this, with £8,000+ of that set aside for their Tartan Day Dinner at the Golf Hotel in Carnoustie. Some of the remaining amount goes to the company organising the event. Angus Council only carry out the marketing for their Tartan Week and leave the organisation of the various events to the good auspices of others. Compare this to the effort, involvement and budget allocated by Fife Council when they hold their annual Bruce Festival. Come on Angus Council, show you really care and allocate a budget with council effort and involvement worthy of The Declaration of Arbroath and its Abbey. Harry Ritchie.Beechwood,Barry. Make Rosyth navy base Sir, – I was amazed to see Mr Salmond had chosen Faslane as the base for any future Scots Navy. The assets we may wish to defend are around the Shetlands and in the North Sea, so why select a base in the central west? Faslane-based vessels would require a one- to two-day trip to get to where they are needed, depending upon the conditions in the Pentland Firth. As for facilities, Faslane only has a massive, covered dry dock which is not needed for the envisioned future navy plus being expensive to operate. The geographic solution would be to resurrect Scapa Flow or Invergordon but economically impossible. The obvious solution is to make Rosyth the home base. It has dry docks more suitable, existing infrastructure to support surface vessels including, most importantly, an experienced workforce. A quick look at an atlas shows Rosyth is closer to where these vessels need to be than Faslane. Lease Faslane to England for its soon to be obsolete Trident boats and base our navy in Rosyth. Eric Swinney.(ex-RN HMS Lochinvar based)Lafayette, Louisiana. Unnecessary bureaucracy Sir, – I refer to the letter from Donald Gatt (February 19), asking about what an independent Scotland would do with the DVLA and BBC. Simple – add 1p to a litre of petrol and eliminate an unnecessary bureaucracy (those driving more, pay more) and abolish the anachronistic BBC. And let’s not stop there. What about reducing corporation tax and petroleum revenue tax to create jobs; eliminating air passenger duty to attract tourists; streamlining the public sector; in fact where would you stop? The fundamental independence issue is over Scotland having a greater say in our own affairs and taking more fiscal responsibility and accountability. My only question – independent in Europe? K. Lees.110 Camphill Road,Dundee. How does he explain deficit? Sir, – In his letter (January 20) Frank Kenneth invites Jenny Hjul, with whom he disagrees, to look at the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures which he says supports his claim that Scotland is “providing a greater financial contribution than she currently receives”. I decided to have a look at the GERS report and found that the data clearly showed that the total expenditure by all public institutions for the benefit of Scotland during the latest published financial year (2009/10) was £62.1 billion, whilst total revenue, including Scotland’s geographic share of North Sea revenue, was £48.1 billion. By my calculations this translates into a deficit of £14 billion. Perhaps Mr Kenneth can explain to readers how this substantiates his claim that we are providing a greater financial contribution than we receive? G. M. Lindsay.Whinfield Gardens,Kinross. Talk sense Sir, – Alex Salmond wants an armoured brigade. Exactly against whom does he think it would be used? Can we have a sensible discussion of the defence requirements, or lack of them, of an independent, non-aligned Scotland? George Hayton.Lib Dem Group Leader,Perth & Kinross Council. Packed church Sir, – Thank you for your unbiased article about The Rev Mike Erskine, who has been much maligned in the press recently. Alyth Parish Church was packed on Sunday January 22, and we all enjoyed his excellent sermon (as the overwhelming vote confirmed). There was a large number of his former parishioners, from Crail and Kingsbarns, in our church, supporting him; and they told us that they had fought hard to keep him as their minister. “Our loss is your gain” was their phrase. Mrs Joy Dewar.9 Commercial Street,Alyth, Blairgowrie. 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.

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

Barclays chairman warns Brexit banking exodus may lead to ‘significant’ tax loss

November 29 2017

Barclays chairman John McFarlane has warned that a no-deal Brexit would hit Government coffers, resulting in a “significant” drop in tax revenues from financial services. The banking boss, who is also chairman of financial services lobby group TheCityUK, said an orderly divorce that delivers a new trade deal would have a minimal effect on the sector. “In a trade agreement scenario where the activities were permitted from the EU into London and vice versa, the impact would be relatively modest,” he told the House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee when asked about the possible financial impact of Brexit. “Beyond that, it would be very significant both in terms of economic activity, tax revenue collection and (have) a bigger effect on the infrastructure, the ecosystem … they are very, very significant and there’s a very significant loss of tax revenue associated with that.” John McFarlane is also head of financial services lobby group TheCityUK (Aviva/PA) Losses are expected to weigh heavily on the Treasury as financial services workers tend to pay a higher tax rate due to the average amount of pay in the sector. A recent report drafted by consultancy PwC and commissioned by the City of London Corporation showed that the financial services sector shelled out £72.1 billion in tax contributions in the year to March 31, marking a 1% increase from a year earlier and resulting in the highest amount the sector is recorded to have paid in the 10 years data has been collected. Income taxes made up the bulk at £31.4 billion. A number of banks, including Barclays, are preparing to shift portions of their UK operations to the EU in hopes of safeguarding against the loss of passporting rights which currently give UK-based financial services cross-border access to the bloc. Without a deal that paves the way for reciprocal market access, those contingency plans are likely to be put into action, with bankers and financial services workers shifted to rival financial services hubs including Frankfurt, Paris and Luxembourg. Barclays has confirmed that it plans to use Barclays Bank Ireland as its EU hub to mitigate any potential disruption to business after Brexit, with its German operation likely to be converted to a branch of its Dublin offices. Mr McFarlane said the bank is likely to bolster its EU operations with “hundreds” of staff. “There will be a pull to have more people than we would like to have there and we’re feeling that already – it’s in the hundreds, some of whom will be transferred, some of whom will be new jobs created on the ground in the EU.” If a trade deal is struck, the number of jobs lost in the UK would be “insignificant”, he said. “They’re in, you know, the 10s, whereas in a worst-case scenario they’re a bit more significant. “But they’re not the most important thing. We may have to re-paper hundreds of thousands of contracts into the EU… which I think is a more significant impact. “Because we already have people on the ground it is not as significant as the financial numbers or the capital implications, and in fact it’s relatively modest.” (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association City Reporter'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '95bbad04-102e-4aad-b8c8-772dd731a93a'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:finance,paservice:finance:city,paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Barclays chairman warns Brexit banking exodus may lead to u2018significantu2019 tax loss'});

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus mother on a mission to help other families affected by rare condition

January 27 2014

An Angus mother has devoted herself to raising awareness of a rare and undiagnosed condition affecting her son. Debbie McFarlane is determined to find more ways to help five-year-old Aidan, who suffers from a rare form of dyspraxia which restricts his ability to speak and move freely. Simple tasks such as forming words or holding a pencil require great effort from Aidan, and his mother is on a mission to raise awareness of what doctors believe is developmental verbal dyspraxia. “We all take the power of speech for granted and I want Aidan to be able to be included and have fun as any other child would,” Ms McFarlane said. “We’ve had to fight for a lot of help over the years and now we know the right channels to go down, but not everyone is in the same position as us. “I want to be able to help other parents who have children with communication problems.” It is thought the condition could be caused by motor neurons the nerve cells that pass signals from the brain to the muscles not developing properly. Although Aidan is yet to be officially diagnosed, hospital nurse Ms McFarlane, from Borrowfield, decided it was time to tackle the issue of awareness surrounding dyspraxia. She set up a Facebook page which received 500 “likes” within 24 hours, and the number of visitors to the site has since rocketed. Aidan’s needs are well catered for at Lochside Primary School, but the next hurdle for Ms McFarlane and her family is to see if her son meets the criteria for an augmentative and alternative communication aid. They are also taking part in a Deciphering Developmental Disorders study which may be able to determine if Aidan has a gene defect that has caused his dyspraxia, although results could take three years. The NHS will fund the equipment Aidan needs, but instead of just waiting, Ms McFarlane and daughter Megan, 16, are being proactive and have begun preparations for fundraising in case he does not qualify. Megan has organised a sponsored bungee jump, which will take place on April 5, and a race night has also been organised for April 26 in the Black Abbot, Montrose.

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.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. Audi TT RS Coupé. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.