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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

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.

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

Hard work lies ahead to promote airport

January 25 2013

Sir, I refer to Graham Huband’s article in the Courier (January 23) on the challenges facing Dundee Airport. I am immensely proud of the staff at Dundee Airport. They are a dedicated, professional team who desperately want Dundee Airport to succeed and are entirely focused on attracting new business to the region and providing the highest standards of customer service. I fully understand the concerns expressed in The Courier over recent weeks about falling passenger numbers and the withdrawal of key services. I want to reassure your readers we are doing every-thing possible to secure new passenger services, but I also think it right that we acknowledge some of the challenges we face. There has been some criticism that fares are too high at Dundee. Let me be clear. HIAL does not set ticket prices. That is entirely a matter for airlines. Where we can make a difference is through our landing charges and we have worked very hard with our airline partners to ensure their costs are kept as low as possible. We need to work harder than ever to promote Dundee as a business and leisure destination, but it can’t be achieved by HIAL alone and it won’t happen overnight. We do need the supportof local residents, businesses and politicians. Inglis Lyon. Managing Director, HIAL, Head Office, Inverness Airport. We need to reclaim our streets Sir, I hope The Courier’s series of articles about prostitution in Dundee will galvanise police, social work, NHS and voluntary organisations to work together to rid our streets of this unwanted intrusion. I know many women in Maryfield would avoid walking along the street or waiting at the bus stop in certain locations because they are fearful about being propositioned by leering kerb crawlers. I think they will only make a lasting impression on this issue if these agencies seek to respond to the circumstances that precipitate women becoming prostitutes on our streets such as the economic desperation of paying for their drugs. Likewise we will only clear the streets of kerb crawlers if we prosecute these men and name and shame them. With regard to the latter, I think The Courier could help by agreeing to publish the names and addresses of convicted kerb crawlers from Courier Country. I hope these agencies will commit to make a difference and together we can reclaim our streets. Georgia Cruickshank. Councillor Maryfield, Dundee. Tax exiles don’t deserve vote Sir, Tax exile Sean Connery is also a well-known and valuable supporter, both vocally and financially, of the SNP and the campaign for Scottish independence. Meanwhile, it is reported that Scots living outside of Scotland, but still in the UK, are to be denied a vote in the coming referendum. In the early days of democratic development, first the nobility, then the lesser landowners, then citizens owning property and paying tax were given the vote. Gradually, the franchise was extended until it embraced all citizens of 18 years of age and over, including women. It is entirely wrong, however, that anybody neither resident in the UK nor paying UK taxes should be allowed to vote or to lend financial support to a political party or a political cause, particularly on such an important issue as Scottish independence. Voting should be confined to UK citizens born in Scotland or who have been resident here for a considerable time. Any Scottish tax exiles such as Sean Connery who can afford to pay UK taxes, but don’t, should be denied the vote and the right to give financial support to any political party. George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth. With friends like these… Sir, I read with interest the condemnation by Friends of the Earth of biomass as a form of renewable energy, which they refer to as “climate-wrecking”. Their outspokenness on the subject is perhaps understandable since, just 10 years ago, in a submission to the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, they demanded that biofuels be made compulsory. Perhaps the Earth would be better served by a period of silence from these “friends”. Andrew Montford. 30 New Road, Milnathort. Snow “panic” Sir, Police, motoring organisations and television news bulletins are flooding us with advice to drive with extreme care during the current weather conditions. Should we not be driving with extreme care at all times, rather than just when we have a snow “panic”? John McDonald. 14 Rosebery Court, Kirkcaldy. Colour clash Sir, A new wind turbine has been erected which I can see from my kitchen window. It is white like all the others. Why can they not be painted a colour which blends with their background perhaps dark green? Garry Barnett. Campsie Hill, Guildtown, Perth.

Scotland

Environmental experts quit clean air strategy group

March 25 2018

Environmental experts have quit a group set up to oversee ministers’ strategy for tackling air pollution, citing frustration and deep disappointment over a lack of progress.Scottish Environment Link members resigned from the Cleaner Air for Scotland Governance Group (CAFSGG) after raising concerns around “commitment, ambition and urgency” and following “poor input” into plans for Scotland’s first low emission zone (LEZ) in Glasgow.Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigner Emilia Hanna and Professor James Curran represented Link – the forum which brings together environmental organisations – on the governance group.In their resignation letter, they said: “We want Scotland’s air quality to be legally compliant as soon as possible, in line with Scotland’s obligations under European law and in line with the continued urgent and pressing need to stop preventable early death and ill-health for exposed populations.“It is clear to us that continuing to be represented on the CAFSGG is no longer an effective route for us to pursue that aim.”Their decision to quit comes after further details of the Glasgow LEZ were revealed.The zone will come into effect at the start of 2019, initially cracking down on bus pollution.All vehicles will be required to be compliant with restricted emissions in the area by the end of 2022.Campaigners said the plans were not ambitious enough.Professor James Curran said: “We had no alternative but to resign.“For two years we made every effort to inject ambition and urgency into the creation of the first LEZ. In the end we’re deeply disappointed.”Ms Hanna said: “Getting the policies right to tackle air pollution is literally a matter of life and death, but there was very little sense of urgency on the Cleaner Air for Scotland Governance Group.”She added: “It is vital that the Glasgow LEZ tackles cars, vans, lorries, and taxis as well as just buses, because we know that a bus-only LEZ would fail to deliver all the necessary improvements in air quality required to achieve clean air.“But the group ignored our calls to build evidence for and around a wide-reaching LEZ and as a result, the original Glasgow plan was unacceptably timid.”Scottish Labour’s environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish said: “This is a real blow to the SNP’s environmental credentials, but it is unsurprising as there is huge frustration at the Government’s lack of urgency around tackling air pollution – it seems to be failing to take the impact on public health seriously.”A spokeswoman said the Scottish Government was “fully committed to protecting the public from the harmful effects of air pollution”.“We are disappointed that SELink has decided to resign from the Cleaner Air for Scotland governance group,” she said.“Success requires collaboration across a number of different interests if we are to produce the best outcomes for Scotland and the group has provided valuable input into the development of low emission zones and other parts of the strategy’s delivery.”

UK & World

2016 extended by a second

December 29 2016

Counting down to new year will be slightly longer than usual. If you are one of those people who can’t wait for 2016 to be over, then bad news – you’ll have to wait a second longer. Yes, a whole extra second. Counting down to 2017 will take longer than usual this New Year’s Eve to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation. Timekeepers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) are introducing a “leap second” after 23:59:59 on December 31 – delaying midnight by a second. We have to add, though, this isn’t the first time NPL has added a leap second to a year. Take Our Poll The extra seconds are introduced every two or three years. In fact, the last one was inserted just 18 months ago in June 2015. So what exactly is a leap second? The adding of the leap second is to ensure that time based on the Earth’s rotation does not lag behind time kept by atomic clocks. The extra seconds are occasionally necessary because of unpredictable changes in the speed at which the Earth turns on its axis. They are introduced in the last minute of either December or June, or rarely March or September. NPL, based in Teddington, London, is the UK’s national measurement institute and the birthplace of atomic time. Peter Whibberley, a senior research scientist with NPL’s time and frequency group, says: “Leap seconds are needed to prevent civil time drifting away from Earth time. “Although the drift is small – taking around 1,000 years to accumulate a one-hour difference – if not corrected it would eventually result in clocks showing midday before sunrise.” The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, based at the Paris Observatory in France, tracks the Earth’s rotation and announces when a leap second is needed roughly six months in advance. However, leap seconds can cause problems for communication networks, financial systems and other applications that rely on precise timing and has to be programmed into computers to avoid mistakes. It is also possible for a second to be removed from the UTC (Universal Co-ordinated Time) timescale, although this has never happened.

Readers' letters

October 11: We will still require back-up power stations

October 11 2011

Today’s letters to The Courier. We will still require back-up power stationsSir, €” The letter (October 7) by the Friends of the Earth chief executive Stan Blackley does not agree with the proposed coal-fired power station at Hunterston. In his opinion, the increased wealth of renewable energy sources will be more than adequate to meet Scotland’s future electricity requirements. I am sure that many of the public, not forgetting the benefit of employment, would be more assured to have a relevant back-up of energy if the “wealth of eventual renewable energy sources” fails to adequately meet requirements. Perhaps Mr Blackley could challenge policies in various countries in order to obtain their support against coal-fired power stations. The response would be interesting. Harry Lawrie. 35 Abbots Mill, Kirkcaldy.Public not asked to choose nameSir, €” Your headline writer has done your readers a disservice by failing to check the facts about the naming of the new sports and leisure centre in Glenrothes (October 6). Fife Council did not at any time “ask the public to choose the name” of the new facility. The Glenrothes Area Committee, including Councillor Kay Morrison, unanimously agreed in May that the purpose of the survey was “to help gauge the views of the public on potential names for the new facility”. If Councillor Morrison had wanted the results to be binding on the council, regardless of how many or how few people took part, she should have asked for this in May. She didn’t. Your report also failed to mention the important fact that although every household in Fife was invited to take part in the survey, and although it was also promoted for over two months in the current FIPRE centre, in local libraries and online, only 174 people actually took part. Compare this to the thousands who made their views known when the late Michael Woods blew the whistle on a suggestion that Fife Institute could be closed down and sold off for housing, and it’s easy to “gauge the views of the public”. They’re relieved that the institute is not being lost, they’re delighted that the current administration is replacing it with a brand new facility, and they don’t really mind what it’s called. We have a long tradition in Scotland of naming important public buildings in memory of individuals who played a major role in having them built. Councillor Michael Woods played a huge role in making sure the current FIPRE site becomes a new sports and leisure centre. (Cllr) Peter Grant.Glenrothes West and Kinglassie. More to it than paying off debtSir, €” It is more than a tad worrying that the Tory Prime Minister David Cameron’s grasp of economics is no better than your average mug punter putting all his money on a three-legged nag. Any successful economy depends on the free flow of money and not simply paying off all our debts. It is equally worrying that David Cameron should publicly give support to the Home Secretary Theresa May for uttering untruths about the Human Rights Act whilst chastising the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Malcolm McCandless.40 Muirfield Crescent,Dundee.Gas cloud risk not worth runningSir, €” It was with a sense of relief I read that the proposed carbon capture programme for Longannet may not go ahead. The prospect of 500 new jobs seems to have obscured the possible long term risks. The technology, as I understand it, involves storing liquid carbon dioxide at around 800psi in empty oil and gas caverns under the North Sea. Presumably we have to store this liquid forever in increasing quantities. Your report quotes a figure of 70 million tonnes by 2024. What happens if we get a leak? It is maybe unlikely, but the events I am thinking about are comparatively common: failure of a pipeline, an accident at a wellhead, an earth tremor or a volcanic eruption. Plus of course, an act of terrorism. Whilst carbon dioxide is harmless in very low concentrations, say 1-10 parts per million, it rapidly becomes highly toxic as concentrations increase. If 10% of these 70 million tonnes leaked out it would produce a cloud of carbon dioxide about the size of the UK. Of course it wouldn’t be pure carbon dioxide it would be mixed with the atmosphere. However, even if it was considerably diluted it would still be an appalling danger. Bob Drysdale.Millfield Star,Glenrothes.Exploitation in sex industrySir, €” In your article about the lap dancing club bid (October 7) the Rev James Auld is reported to have said that he, “has no problem with the venture, providing workers do not feel exploited”. It does not necessarily follow, however, that a person isn’t being exploited just because they don’t feel exploited. It is usually people who, for whatever reason, don’t feel it who are exploited. If, as Dundee Women’s Aid suggests, women in the sex industry are being exploited (and there is ample evidence) then it is worse, not better, that they don’t feel that exploitation. So the Rev Auld ought to have a problem with this venture. Clare McGraw.12a Castle Terrace,Broughty Ferry. 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

Readers' letters

Foodbank figures only tip of the iceberg

December 15 2014

Sir, Your paper is to be congratulated for its strong criticism of the necessity for so many foodbanks in Britain and, in particular, a very powerful leading article published recently. But, like most papers, the number of people who attend and which are quoted is only part of a very nasty iceberg. The figures are given by two leading charities. However, throughout Scotland, churches, mosques and other places of worship have been running their own kitchens for quite some time. Where typical figures were nine or 10 people attending some years ago, those have grown to 90 to 100 arriving today. And because these blessed places of charity run entirely on donations, they are constantly short of money. In the Christian churches, both work and support run through all denominations helping each other. St Salvador’s, for instance, has regular helpers from the Church of Scotland and other denominations such as the Unitarian Church. There are several atheists to enrich the mixture. When many of these wonderful organisations started, part of the “treatment” included talking to those who came along. St Salvador’s has had the help for some time of a Church of Scotland elder, who speaks fluent Polish and other languages, and has recently added to its list of helpers a speaker of Russian and Estonian. Every single helper reports that those who they encounter are in genuine need and are not going for a free handout. They also record that many resent the appalling indignity they feel in having to go to such places because of their pressing situations. But because such are treated with both dignity and understanding, they are helped over these hurdles. Please add these facts to your welcome campaign. Robert Lightband. Clepington Court, Dundee. Climate change inaccuracies Sir, The article in yesterday’s Courier, “Climate guide published”, is extraordinary inasmuch as the publication referred to was published more than four years ago and much of its content has been disproved. Climate change is a multi-billion-pound industry and no one wants to rock the boat. For 10 years, the main plank for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and global warming enthusiasts was Mann’s “hockey stick” theory. It stated that for 6,000 years Earth’s climate had been steady and has recently started to turn sharply upwards. It was based on computer models and ignored the Medieval and Roman warming periods, when temperatures were higher than now and the Little Ice Ages, when ice fairs were common on Britain’s major rivers. Those who attempted to point this out had their articles suppressed by the “peer review system”. But the truth was so comprehensively proved that the IPCC had no choice but to sideline the “hockey stick”, reference and trace of which disappeared overnight from their publications without a word of apology or explanation. Bill McKenzie. Fintry Place, Broughty Ferry. Home births to remain optional Sir, In response to John Cameron’s letter regarding midwives v obstetricians and the recent comments that home births are just as safe as a hospital birth. Well, as a new dad to an 11-week-old son, let me just agree and state such advice is utter tosh. My wife required additional monitoring and treatment due to dehydration and hyperemesis gravidarum (severe, prolonged sickness during pregnancy), which was only possible in a hospital. My wife’s labour was very quick and required management by a number of hospital staff. When our son was born he was smaller than average and was cold and jaundice, requiring a heated mattress and lamp to raise his temperature. Following the birth, she also required a procedure, again only available in a hospital. I could not imagine, nor would I ever wish the opportunity for anyone to experience the above at home. I would hate to think what would have happened with the inevitable delay in either midwives or ambulance staff arriving. This is the 21st Century and we all pay our taxes for the NHS when we need it. Why on earth would anyone want to dissuade, cloud the judgement of, or impress their own personal beliefs on worried parents-to-be? Home births, like everything else, should remain an option with pros and cons, not a default position to save money. Matt Phillip. Yarrow Terrace, Dundee. New overseas rail owners Sir, When the railways were privatised, the public were told that competition between private companies would mean a more efficient and cost-effective service. We will shortly have the situation where the two main lines from London to Scotland are run by the same company hardly a competitive scenario. It appears that the UK Government does not want a UK state company (East Coast Railways) to be allowed to run a railway but it is happy that many of the railways in the UK are now run by companies which are partly owned by the governments of Germany, France and Holland. Robert Potter. Menzieshill Road, Dundee.

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