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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

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.

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.


VIDEO: Street poet Gary Robertson says he’s not “A’body’s Wullie” – he’s Dundee’s!

August 24 2016

He’s known as Oor Wullie, Your Wullie, A’Body’s Wullie. But is the famous DC Thomson character first and foremost Dundee’s Wullie? City street poet Gary Robertson reckons so – and this new video of his invective verse attacking the perceived west coast-ification of the Dundee-born cartoon icon has gone viral online since it was posted on Wednesday morning. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Ok here it is – fir ah you fowk in #Dundee on the Wullie Hunt (pardon the pun ladies 󾌴) – the 'Oor Wullie' poem in ah… Posted by Gary Robertson on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 It was written 10 years ago, but has been performed again to coincide with the hugely popular Oor Wullie Bucket Trail. Be warned: Gary is not one for mincing his words. “Auchenshoogle”, “Whit”, “Fitba”, “Jings, Crivvens and Help ma boab!”, The Sunday Post, Dudley D Watkins and even DC Thomson itself all come in for a lashing as Gary cuts loose. (There’s even the kind of sweary words that would leave Primrose Paterson blushing.) But it’s all in good sport and shows Gary at his free-flowing lyrical best as he “puts the record straight” and reminds everyone that Wullie’s a “Dundee boy oary an proud”. Gary told The Courier the poem is “just a wee ‘tongue in cheek’ view wi’ a bit o’ Dundee banter.” He added: “I wrote it aboot 10 years ago when I noticed the annuals and Sunday Post pieces (along with The Broons) were getting too west coast-ish accents for my liking. “The old original annuals from the 1930/40s had a lot more Oary Dundee dialect. “Anyway, thank you Dudley D Watkins and DC Thomson’s for countless years o’ enjoyment wi’ Wullie an’ The Broons!” 50,000 views and counting. Has the west coast got the message now?

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


VIDEO: Dundee video game tester makes bid for Christmas number one

December 19 2015

A Dundee video game tester is attempting chart success with his very own Christmas hit and wants music lovers to help pick a charity to donate to in the process. Paul Conry, 31, penned the song while commuting to his job at Ruffian Games after realising it was over 10 years since the UK has seen a dedicated Christmas song top the charts. In writing the song, local musician Paul had help from friends and former colleagues Lewis Marriott, from Newcastle’s Ubisoft Reflections, and Andy Boyd, from Dundee’s Outplay Entertainment. The song, titled ‘Christmas Is Here’, was finalised and recorded by Paul and Lewis after the former had travelled to Scotland, having being convinced of the songs worth by Paul’s original demo of the Christmas track. It was then produced by Lewis in Newcastle with continual collaboration from Paul. “Christmas Is Here” sums up what Christmas means to music enthusiast Paul and he hopes that it brings the same feelings to all who listen. Described as a mix between The Darkness and Cliff Richard, it’s hoped the song can gain public support to reach Christmas number one, beating The X Factor and John Lewis. Lyricist and Senior Tester for Ruffian Games, Paul said: “There hasn’t been a Christmas song at Christmas number one for over a decade and I wanted to try and change that. “By writing a song which captures the essence of Christmas and making it widely available across digital platforms, we’ve got a chance to break the cycle and make ‘Christmas Is Here’ the first Christmas song at Christmas number one in far too long. “I hope that this will be recognised for the festive cheer it emanates while also raising money for a worthwhile charity we hope music lovers will help us choose.” Paul is currently working on Ruffian Games’ new project ‘Fragmental’ which has recently been Greenlit on the gaming platform Steam. Managing Director Gary Liddon said: “Paul is an extremely dedicated tester and it was no surprise that he put the same level of enthusiasm into his Christmas song.” The team behind the campaign now want fans to vote for an appropriate charity to donate profits to, reflecting that Christmas should be a time of giving. The track, which is available to download via all digital formats, has its own social media presence on both Facebook and Twitter using the twitter tag @XmasIsHere2015. For more on Paul’s song visitFacebook.


Drivers asked to show patience during Tay Bridge road changes

October 8 2011

Drivers are being warned further changes to Dundee’s road layout are inevitable as work on the city’s waterfront continues. Will Dawson, city development convener at the council, has urged motorists to be aware of changes to priorities in the Tay Bridge area, as work at the site progresses. It comes after some motorists reported problems with the latest layout, implemented on Friday. Asking commuters to exercise caution as they adjust to the changes, Councillor Dawson said: ”I guess it’s a force of habit for some. ”We have tried to tell people that changes were coming and I would ask people to please be aware of signs and any new information. ”This will last for the next few years but it will get us to where we want to be.” Motorists using the bridge have contacted The Courier to register concerns after the new access routes and road markings came into effect. Traffic heading into Dundee is now able to use a new westbound access ramp on to South Marketgait, while traffic leaving the city en route to Fife is subject to new markings outside of Customs House. The changes were implemented in the early hours of the morning with police sealing off the route before diverting vehicles on to the new section of road. Friday saw many commuters struggling to cope with the new layout, with some accidentally ending up on the bridge. Gary Liddon posted on Twitter: ”New road layout in Dundee led me over the Tay Bridge. I didn’t want to go over the Tay Bridge. On the upside, it’s a pretty view.” Numerous other motorists contacted The Courier to register their concerns at the layout, saying there had been a lack of warning. Pleading with drivers to exercise caution as work continues, Mr Dawson added: ”I would ask drivers show patience, stick with us and plan journeys ahead.” Ken Guild, chairman of the Waterfront Board and council leader, said: ”People are beginning to see for themselves the new waterfront truly taking shape. ”Significant progress is being made now on delivering the vision, not only earlier than scheduled, but also under budget.”You can download a leaflet explaining the road changes by clicking here.

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.


Woman appears at court charged with Dundee mum’s murder

September 6 2016

A 30-year-old woman has appeared in court charged with murdering Dundee mum Marie Low. Siobhan Russell, Ballantrae Terrace, appeared on petition alleging murder at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday. She is alleged to have stabbed Marie Low with a knife and murdered her at Ballantrae Terrace on Sunday. She made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody. Solicitor Gary Fowlis, for Russell, asked that she be released on bail. However, Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC remanded Russell in custody ahead of a further hearing next week.