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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

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

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.

Extremist found guilty of encouraging terrorism in YouTube campaign

January 24 2018

An extremist behind a YouTube campaign glorifying Islamic State has been found guilty of encouraging terrorism, but cleared over a video featuring Tony Blair in flames.Father-of-four Gary Staples, 50, drummed up support for terrorism in home-made clips posted to the video-sharing platform and Google Plus between May and September 2016, the court heard.Eight videos were created by him, while one was made by the media arm of IS terror group Al Hayat, his trial was told.One clip featured an image of the former prime minister with flames imposed over it, followed by a message reading: “O kuffar, sleep with one eye open.”A picture of a wolf appears alongside the warning to the “kuffar” – or non-believer – in the video, which later features the black flag used by IS.Armed IS fighters and infamous jihadi warlords appeared during the clips – which are all slideshows – accompanied by Nasheeds, a form of tune featuring a male vocal without musical accompaniment.The Nasheed lyrics in the video of Mr Blair translate from Arabic as “death in the path of jihad is Allah’s blessing”, it was heard.Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, and Osama bin Laden are among the extremists glorified in the clips.Ben Lloyd, prosecuting, had told the court: “His purpose in publishing and disseminating each of these videos, the prosecution say, is to encourage members of the public to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism.“Each of the videos contains, the prosecution say, Islamic extremist material.“Much of the material relates to Isis, Isil, Islamic State; there are also images of Osama bin Laden, for example, who, as you will no doubt know, was the leader of al Qaida.”Pictures of radical hate preacher Anjem Choudary were also found on Staples’ Google Plus account, the court was told.The account had 1,180 followers, while his YouTube account had 67 subscribers.Staples, from Crowther Road, South Norwood, south London, was arrested in November 2016 and denied eight counts of encouraging terrorism and one count of sharing terrorist material.Giving evidence, he accepted posting the Blair video but claimed two friends must have been responsible for others.Judge Anuja Dhir QC directed jurors that they must be sure the clips were a direct encouragement for terrorism.The jury acquitted Staples of encouraging terrorism in the Blair video but convicted him of the other charges.He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on February 27.

Fife

‘A male should be in a male prison’ victim’s family say murderer Paris Green is being ‘rewarded’

November 12 2013

The family of a man murdered in Glenrothes have launched a campaign to have his sex-change killer moved to a men’s jail. Paris Green, who was born Peter Laing and is set to have gender realignment surgery in England, is serving a minimum of 18 years in Cornton Vale women’s prison for her part in the killing of 45-year-old Robert Shankland. Mr Shankland’s relatives plan to launch a Facebook and petition campaign to get Green moved. They have also hit out at the fact Green’s operation will be paid for by the NHS. Sister Pauline Bell, 41, said: “It just seems that you can do what you want in this country and get rewarded for it. “There are people out there who need life-saving operations who have to save their own money or go abroad to get it done. “He’s getting this handed on a plate and is having a cushy time in a female jail. He’s a male and should be in a male prison.” Green, 22, was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday alongside Kevin McDonagh and Dean Smith. Between them the trio must serve a total of 54 years. Judge John Morris QC described the behaviour of the murderers, who subjected Mr Shankland to hours of torture in Green’s flat in Brodie Court, as “utterly depraved”. The jury heard how, during the attack in March, Mr Shankland was tied up with torn bedding, battered, kicked and attacked with a rolling pin. A ligature was also tied around his neck and a plastic bag pulled over his head. Mr Shankland died as a result of either suffocation or blunt force injuries. As he lay dying the killers ate ham sandwiches paid for with the proceeds of selling their victim’s mobile phone. His mother Mary Shankland, 69, revealed how her son helped his murderer out when Green needed a place to stay. She said: “Robert ended up staying here on and off. He used to help me in the house. I have diabetes and I find it hard to walk. “He was always helping and doing things for me. He was always helping people, including Paris Green. They were friends. “He took people at face value and went out of his way to help people. When she didn’t have a place to stay, he put her up at his home. He was too trusting.” Mrs Shankland revealed how the family had endured heartbreak in the past. She has now lost three sons in tragic circumstances. “Out of five of them I’ve only got two left because I’d lost two boys before,” she said. “But this was worse. Even the judge said it was the worst case he’d ever come across. They left him no dignity. That’s what makes it so hard. It’s just how callous they were.” Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said Green should lose all rights to a sex change on the NHS as a result of the conviction. The family are hoping to get local politicians involved in the campaign.

Dundee

Footballer rape claim: Court hears woman did not know she had met David Goodwillie

October 25 2016

A woman who is suing two former Dundee United footballers she claims raped her was unaware of who one of them was when she was told by police that they had a DNA finding for him, a court has been told. The accuser was medically examined after police were contacted in January in 2011 and samples were sent for analysis. Detective Sergeant Rebecca Gregson, 36, said: "I am aware the complainer was told about a DNA hit on January 17." She continued: "From what I can remember she was still unaware who that particular male was and was quite adamant that how his DNA was there was confusing. She couldn't understand." Simon Di Rollo QC, for the woman, said police were able to identify the male and the officer said: "Yes, it was David Goodwillie's semen." The former Scotland striker is being sued along with ex-United teammate David Robertson in the action. Mr Di Rollo said: "In her evidence to us she said at one point 'I have never met David Goodwillie'. Is that consistent with what she was saying to you when you were informing her of this?." The detective replied: "Yes." DS Gregson said that at one point police carried out a "cognitive interview" with the woman and explained it was a technique in which the interviewee was taken back to the actual incident to relive it. She agreed there was a gap in her memory in terms of what had happened to her. Mr Di Rollo asked her if the memory was recovered and she said: "No." She said Goodwillie was interviewed but gave a "no comment interview". The 30-year woman is suing Goodwillie and Robertson after raising a £500,000 damages claim at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It is alleged both men raped the 30-year-old woman in the early hours of January 2 at a flat in Armadale, in West Lothian, following a night out. It is claimed that she was incapable of giving free agreement at the time when intercourse took place. Goodwillie, who is now with Plymouth Argyle, and Robertson, of Bathgate, deny the allegation and maintain that intercourse was consensual. Neither was prosecuted. They claim that CCTV footage shows the woman was capable of walking, holding a conversation and using her mobile phone. DS Gregson agreed that Goodwillie was charged and a report was sent to Crown Office against him alone. Mr Di Rollo said Robertson subsequently gave a statement to detectives in July in the course of which he indicated that he too had had sexual intercourse with the woman. The detective sergeant agreed that up until that point there was no evidence about that. Mr Di Rollo said: "He had, of course, been told he would not be prosecuted in respect of this matter." DS Gregson said: "I believe so." The senior counsel said that a decision was subsequently made by Crown Office that no proceedings were to be taken and she said: "Yes." Anne Marie McKay told the court that she had gone out with friends on the evening of January 1 and went to the Glenmavis Tavern, in Bathgate, also known as Smiths. She said she had never seen the woman in the bar before but knew her through work. She said she was at the bar when the woman fell over into her side. She had later seen her making her way to the public bar. Ms McKay (47) said she was "quite drunk" and added: "Her eyes were quite glazed over and her words weren't like making sense." She later saw her again outside the pub. She said: "She was kind of staggering about and she only had one shoe on." "I called over to her was she OK and where was her shoe. She said that's what she was doing — trying to find her shoe," she said. Ms McKay agreed with Roddy McIlvride QC, for Robertson, that the woman was wearing very high-heeled shoes that night. But she said of the initial incident in the pub: "She was standing still next to me and had come over this way so she wasn't walking." The hearing before Lord Armstrong continues.

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. 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.

Motoring news

High-tech lightweight new Q5

October 5 2016

Since its launch back in 2009 the Q5 has become Audi’s most popular SUV, with more than a million sold. Now an all-new second generation model has been revealed at the Paris Motor Show and will go on sale in the UK early next year. The new car is approximately 90kg lighter than the model it replaces, but is also bigger inside and out. The new car also gets Audi’s fantastic Virtual Cockpit display in place of more conventional dials. Five engine options will be available at launch – a petrol and four diesels. The petrol has 248bhp and four-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre diesel can be had with 148, 161 or 187bhp and two or four-wheel drive. Higher up the range is a 3.0 litre V6 diesel with 282bhp. An SQ5 with 340bhp and an RS Q5 with more than 500bhp will join the range later on. The updated Q5 takes design inspiration from the Q3 and Q7, with a large, angular, chrome grille at the front flanked by LED headlights. It’s not a radical redesign. The car’s overall silhouette is the same, but has stronger shoulder lines, larger wheel arches and a lower roofline. As standard, the Q5 will ride on 17in alloy wheels, although wheels as big as 21in will be available as optional extras. On the gadgetry side of things, the Q5 has an in-car wifi hotspot system that gives you permanent web access on the go, supported by a sim card charged at a flat rate for data, and free for the first three years. An optional tablet can be fitted to act as a rear entertainment screen, and massage seats are offered for the first time. The sat-nav system now has a ‘Personal Route Assistance’ that learns your most regularly driven routes, tally that information with where you park it in the evening, and pre-programme the sat-nav to the destination it thinks you’re most likely to want next. The new Q5 will be built at an all-new factory in Mexico, with first deliveries in January 2017, and the base starting price in Germany for the 2.0-litre TDI is the equivalent of £38,000 – although final UK spec and prices will be announced closer to the launch.

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