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...
Sir, - Has WWF Scotland stopped looking after wildlife in favour of supporting wind turbines and protesting about climate change? There are enough people, organisations, pressure groups and propaganda machines already doing this. Lang Banks, since he took over as director of WWF Scotland, has been firing off press releases and newspaper articles on a monotonous basis. The latest of many was that wind power output in January was 48% of Scotland’s total electricity consumption (February 8). What he is not saying is that on wind-free days, no homes would be supplied from wind generation. What he is not saying is that the rest was supported by coal, gas and nuclear which is needed when the wind does not blow. What he is not saying is that wind electricity is much more expensive. What he is not saying is that Scotland has a miniscule 0.13% of global emissions and the whole point of expensive, intermittent turbines was to reduce CO2 but this has not happened. Does WWF now stand for world wind fantasy? Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow. Skills gap holds back Scotland Sir, - According to Scottish Secretary David Mundell, the final Scotland Bill negotiations concern the SNP’s ability to bring in immigrants, because, in essence, every person resident in the country attracts more per capita revenue and it seems while our own people can’t be trained to do the jobs, the UK government will still pick up the tab for their benefits. What a poverty of ideas. In Scotland the 160,000 on unemployment benefit, that is, fit and available to work, will soon be joined by council, steel and oil workers. This equates to 2.2 people per vacancy. We don’t need more workers, we need workers who have the skills, brains and motivation to do the jobs on offer and an ambitious combination of welfare reform, training, life coaching and housing reform to help them. Our education systems should produce fewer event managers and media graduates and more plumbers, nurses, engineers, doctors and teachers. A quick-fix immigration option will make the cost and lack of housing worse. Birthrates will lower because couples cannot afford a family home. A recent government report estimated that one in every two new houses will be required for immigrants. I am not against immigration and supported a Kenyan family to stay in Scotland. We are not “too wee, too poor”, we’re “too untrained, too unimaginative and too entitled”. Allan Sutherland. 1 Willow Row, Stonehaven. Handouts pay for tax freeze Sir, - No matter how many sums our councils do, they cannot continue to cope with the council tax freeze or worse, a reduction, without services suffering. The SNP claims the freeze/reduction is fully funded or costed as are free prescriptions for all and university education. The reality is someone somewhere is suffering for this populist strategy. Just look at the state of the NHS, the exodus of GPs and the slump in student numbers. Angus Councillor Iain Gaul claims the “brouhaha” over the council tax freeze is down to politics. I sincerely hope that his own stance is also down to politics. The thought that our leader believes fairy stories is actually quite frightening. Alan Shepherd. 38 Manor Street, Forfar. Audacity of Labour Party Sir, - As one of the former Labour voters who now back the SNP mentioned by Dr Arthur (February 5), I have to admire his cheek when he applauds Scottish Labour’s plan to raise income tax while condemning the SNP for passing on Tory austerity cuts. Remind me again, is this the same Labour which abstained in Westminster when the Tory austerity cuts were debated? The same Labour that worked with other unionist parties in the Smith Commission to ensure that any Scottish Government would have their tax-raising powers severely curtailed? These restricted powers now mean that any tax rise must apply across all tax payers even the poorest, while the HMRC would charge for collection and the block grant would be reduced. Oh yes, and the so-called £100 rebate would be subject to tax. When the SNP put forward a similar penny on income tax plan which was subsequently withdrawn, Gordon Brown said: “There is hardly a nurse, teacher, policeman or council worker in Scotland who won’t be paying this tax increase. These are the people the SNP claimed it wanted to help and instead they will be hit the hardest.” Heaven help Labour when they are reduced to this kind of dishonest posturing and if this the best they can come up with in order to win an election. George White. 2 Cupar Road, Auchtermuchty. Evolution a flawed theory Sir, - Keith Lawrie (February 4) in stating that 65 million years ago an asteroid strike on Earth destroyed 80% of animal and plant life is engaging in the logical fallacy of begging the question. Presumably Keith is of the opinion that dinosaurs were wiped out in that asteroid strike. Perhaps he can explain how DNA, red blood cells, and soft tissue which according to scientists can survive less than one million years, have been discovered by Dr Mary Schweitzer in a dinosaur unearthed in 2000 in Montana, USA? In trying to solve this dilemma, Ms Schweitzer proposed that iron might help preserve dinosaur soft tissue, both by helping to cross-link and stabilise the proteins, as well as by acting as an antioxidant. However, her idea that iron generated free hydroxyl (OH) radicals (called the Fenton Reaction) caused preservation of the proteins is unscientific, as free radicals are far more likely to help degrade proteins and other organic matter. Indeed, the reaction is used to destroy organic compounds. Perhaps Keith has a better answer? Keith clearly denies the existence of the creator but even evolutionary scientists admit the self-replicating ribonucleic acid hypothesis, their best explanation of creation, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Does Keith recognise that unless he can offer sound explanations for the origin of the fine-tuned for life universe and life in its diversity that his worldview is based on faith? Will Brooks. 162 Largo Road Leven. Social value of Christianity Sir, - Kevin Lawrie must really get with it. Most Christians these days do not take the story of creation in the Old Testament literally. We believe in a creator God, as do the Muslims and Jews, but after the creation which, as Kevin Lawrie says, happened long before the date mooted in scripture, modern Christians go along quite happily with Darwin and his theory of evolution. In general, Christians have always devoted more of their attention to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ than to the Old Testament. It is more important to us to live our lives according to these high principles than to argue the wheres and wherefores of Biblical history. Nobody could possibly say that Christ’s teachings are bad and not worth following. As to our children’s education, we cannot give equal weighting to the teachings of other religions with that of Christianity. Christianity is a fundamental part of our Western civilisation. Its teachings underpin much of our culture, our laws, our courts, our sense of social responsibility and caring for others. Our schools cannot ignore Christianity without depriving our children of their heritage and the chance to understand how our society developed into what it is today. Science has played an increasing role in this development, but it is by no means the whole story. George K. McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth. Education needs tax cash Sir, - Scottish Labour’s tax proposal of one penny extra per pound of annual incomes above £20,000, and coupled with a £100 rebate for people with lower incomes seems fair to me. This pensioner is willing to pay the extra tax so that we can avoid lowering Scotland’s education standards. This is just the sort of choice the Holyrood parliament was set up to debate. Andrew Dundas. 34 Ross Avenue, Perth.
An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0 “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.
Trainee teachers are being landed with the "burden" of longer hours to cover a shortage of experienced staff, an education standards body has warned. Ken Muir, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which sets the professional standards expected of staff, said the new starts are missing out on "crucial" mentoring due to a lack of teachers. He told The Herald he knew of schools using probationers to teach longer hours than they are meant to, which eats into time set aside to learn from other teachers and develop lessons. Schools are given extra money to cover for senior teachers mentoring trainee staff and this non-teaching time is protected. Mr Muir said: "Sometimes, because of a shortage of teachers, probationers are being asked to cover a full timetable and that means they are not getting the mentoring time crucial to their development. "There is an arrangement between the Scottish Government and the councils to make sure that mentoring happens and it is fully funded and it should be happening. "Because new teachers are keen to impress they are more likely to take on an additional burden, but that is not what should be happening." Local government body Cosla said "probationer teachers are both valued and used in the appropriate manner". A spokesman added: "Councils take their duty of care to all staff very seriously indeed and they also treat teacher vacancies with the utmost priority. "Councils are well aware of their obligations both contractual and otherwise relating to probationer teachers. If this is an issue as is being suggested, we would be happy to meet the GTCS on any concerns." A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), made up of Cosla, teaching unions and Government, sets teachers' terms and conditions. Probationer teachers have a contractually reduced class contact time to specifically allow for supported mentoring. "Local authorities are obliged to provide placements for all newly qualified teachers on that basis and if this is not happening we would encourage the GTCS to take up Cosla's offer to discuss it further. We have already contacted GTCS to seek further details on their concerns." But Labour opportunities spokesman Iain Gray said: "Under the SNP there are 4,000 fewer teachers in Scotland's schools and class sizes are bigger. That puts more pressure on the teachers we do have, particularly trainee teachers who should be getting extra support to do their job. "We need to invest more in education, not carry on with the SNP Government's cuts. Labour has set out a plan to stop the cuts and protect the education budget in real terms over the next five years. The SNP should use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop the cuts and invest in the future of our economy."
A deputy headteacher who gave porn star names to dozens of sixth years at their leaving assembly has escaped being struck off. But Graeme Cowie will have to obtain a regular "report card" to prove he's behaving. Mr Cowie almost destroyed his previously unblemished career during a leavers' speech for sixth year pupils at Mearns Academy. The 38-year-old used an online porn name generator to create smutty monickers for 62 students and read them out during his speech, which also contained the phrase "s***e and b******s to formality". He was watched in stony silence by appalled colleagues. The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) decided his antics were an “isolated” incident and “entirely out of character”. However, he will be required to give details of the hearing to future employers and submit three report cards from his boss reflecting on his conduct for a year. In its report, the disciplinary panel rejected Mr Cowie's explanation that he thought at the back of his mind he was addressing the pupils as adults when he made the speech. At the time of the speech, Mr Cowie was acting headteacher at Inverurie Academy, Aberdeenshire. He had left Mearns Academy five months earlier. After the speech, Mr Cowie was suspended pending an investigation by Aberdeenshire Council. He is currently working as a depute rector at The Gordon Schools in Huntly, after the council decided no further action would be taken by them.
Sir, I sincerely hope that when the roadworks are complete at Dundee’s waterfront there is a totally separate lane leading on to the Tay Road Bridge. Last Monday I was heading home to Tayport along Riverside Drive only to be stopped at the Tesco entrance at exactly 5pm. I was in the correct lane unlike so many who chanced their luck in the left-hand lane, only to later indicate and push their car into the right-hand lane. So many near misses. Because of this it took me and everyone else in the correct lane 28 minutes to reach the Tay Road Bridge access. No mention was made of this on the Radio Tay jambuster line. When I eventually got home I searched my phone book and checked online for their number to alert them to the congestion. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Why not display it on the billboards? Goodness knows there are plenty of them en route! So, come on, traffic controllers and pushy drivers get your act together! Anne H F Lowe. 13 Nelson Street, Tayport. Biomass makes no sense Sir, Recent Courier reports relating to the proposed biomass plant in Dundee have focused on the health impact associated with emissions of nitrogen dioxide but what is never mentioned is the increase in local carbon dioxide emissions. No new coal-fired generation facility would be allowed in Scotland without carbon emission mitigation and yet people seem to be sleep walking into supporting a so-called biomass (wood burning) facility which also emits significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Both coal and wood-burning involve the oxidation of carbon to form carbon dioxide. In fact, a wood-burning generator emits almost 25% more carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated than a coal-fired generator would. In effect, Dundee would be importing carbon emissions from the countries from which the wood will be sourced. This makes no sense when we are ravaging our countryside with ever more wind turbines in an effort to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions. Dr G M Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross. Figures are dwarfed Sir, I wish to congratulate Steve Flynn on his excellent letter (Courier, April 11) on the inequalities of present government legislation. While most people do not wish to see illegal benefit claims made, these are dwarfed by tax dodging from the well-off and by reduced taxes, again, to people who are much more than comfortably off. Another group of people Mr Flynn does not mention are the directors of banks who, through inefficiency and cavalier decisions have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds yet, many are still being paid large bonuses and pensions. I am sure that the amounts of illegal benefit claims pale into insignificance when compared to these latter items. John Baston. 9a Seabourne Gardens, Broughty Ferry. It is a time to show respect Sir, Why should anyone want to organise a street party to celebrate the demise of a former prime minister? The only appropriate time to organise such a gathering was surely when that person left office(in the case of Mrs Thatcher, over 22 years ago). But dancing on the grave, so to speak, of the former leader is not just distasteful it is perverse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the Durham coalfields, the republican streets of Belfast and Londonderry, or the centre of Glasgow or Brixton. Events like these don’t just diminish our reputation for tolerance, they undermine the whole texture of political debate and democracy. Respect for your opponents in time of personal difficulty and death is simple good manners and humanity. Nobody contests that Mrs Thatcher was a controversial figure. But the plain fact is that her attitudes and beliefs (honestly held and worthy of respect at a time of her passing), were subject to the test of the ballot box. For good or ill she was successful on three occasions. In the end it was her own MPs and Cabinet who prompted her resignation in November 1990. Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.Remarks show a lack of classSir, I write with reference to your article featuring Labour councillor Tom Adams and entitled, A dram to toast the lady’s demise.I found the tone of the article to be in incredibly poor taste and I am very uncomfortable with the pleasure Mr Adams appears to derive from the death of an 87-year-old frail lady with Alzheimer’s. Mr Adams, of course, makes no mention of the fact that Harold Wilson closed three times as many coal mines as Margaret Thatcher ever did. Nor does he appear to apportion any responsibility for his plight as a young man to the militant NUM leader Arthur Scargill. Most of those in his party seem to accept that Mr Scargill and his fellow militants played a major role in the failure of the mining industry. That aside, his comments, coming from an elected member of Fife Council regarding Mrs Thatcher’s death are disgraceful and show a distinct lack of class. Allan D S Smith. 10 Balgonie Place, Markinch.
A former Perthshire teacher at the centre of a tribunal relating to alleged incompetency felt management were "out to get her", a hearing has been told. Gillian Scott, who taught English at Breadalbane Academy, faces a string of charges at the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The former principal teacher of English David McLuskey, who now serves as depute head, told the hearing that he had several meetings with Miss Scott in a bid to help her "to be a better teacher". He said he felt Miss Scott, who is now teaching English as a foreign language overseas, had an over-reliance on work sheets and that there was a high level of pupil dissatisfaction with her classes. He said Miss Scott had once produced a "very daunting" pile of work sheets in relation to the Robert Jenkins novel The Cone Gatherers, which he felt was unlikely to be completed by pupils. Mr McLuskey said: "Gillian's position was that people could not say she hadn't prepared (for lessons). "She was using them so she didn't have to interact with pupils - I think Gillian struggled to interact with the children. I think it was a struggle for her to go into the classroom and the work sheets were a substitute for that." Mr McLuskey said a number of meetings over the space of several months were held with Miss Scott but that she did not seem responsive to criticism. "One meeting in particular, a review meeting with the head teacher in her office, had to be adjourned as Gillian became aggressive and vocal," he said. He added: "Gillian didn't really believe me when I said I wanted to support her to be a better teacher and felt that we were out to get her. "If she had seen the light she would have been a better teacher." Miss Scott was represented by her father, James Scott, who believes that his daughter is being victimised because of her role in a “shambolic” exams row from 2009, where pupils were left waiting for more than a month for their Higher Prelim marks. Miss Scott was one of four English teachers who signed a letter to the chief executive of Perth and Kinross Council, raising concerns about the department principal at the time. It is alleged that Miss Scott failed to maintain the council’s standard for full registration while working at Breadalbane between December 2010 and November 2013. The hearing continues in Edinburgh today.
A former headteacher who got drunk and acted inappropriately with students has claimed they saw her behaviour as “light-hearted banter”. Gillian Rew, who was the principal of Arbroath High, told a fitness to teach panel that she drank more than a bottle of wine while on a school trip with sixth year students in Lockerbie. She also admitted making “inappropriate comments” and engaging in “improper contact” with S6 pupils during an evening disco at the adventure weekend in September 2014. She told at the General Teaching Council for Scotland hearing: “I honestly don’t think they (the pupils) were uncomfortable. I think they saw it as a bit of light-hearted banter.” Presented with witness statements from pupils, she accepted some of them may have felt uncomfortable with her behaviour. One pupil after the incident said they were “all uncomfortable and awkward”. Another said: “I was shocked." "I am mortified,” Mrs Rew told the hearing. “I think the word mortified is actually not quite strong enough to describe my actions." She added: "Throughout my career I have always placed their care and welfare at the heart of my practice, but on this occasion, as child protection officer, I fell short." "The events were a real lesson about my lifestyle. It was a very difficult period, a very desperate and sad period in my life." She was sacked from her £74,000-a-year post before a police investigation was launched and later dropped. Mrs Rew, who taught in Dundee for more than 20 years and now works for the EIS teachers’ union, admitted that she engaged in “inappropriate conversations with, made inappropriate comments to and had improper contact with pupils”, while under the influence of alcohol. She said she had consumed about eight glasses of sauvignon blanc from a box and could not remember what had happened. Rumours have been circulating on social media, but by admitting the charges the exact nature of her inappropriate behaviour is unlikely to be officially disclosed. The 49-year-old admitted the charges against her, but denies she is unfit to teach and hopes to return to the classroom as a teacher. Mrs Rew said she had been drinking too much amid marriage and family problems, but had taken steps, including counselling and alcohol testing, to avoid any repeat incidents. She said she was also "experiencing difficulties with my senior leadership team", some of whom she said were resisting her attempts at reform and were "behaving in a fashion which was hostile and undermining". On her decision to take wine on the school trip, she said: “I honestly don’t think that I was in a particularly good place to make proper cognitive decisions.” Several of Mrs Rew’s former colleagues, as well parents and ex-pupils, attended the hearing to offer character references in support of her bid to return as a teacher. Andrena Waghorn, headteacher at Craigie High School in Dundee, who has known Mrs Rew for 20 years, described her as “professional, committed and enthusiastic”. The hearing, which will decide whether Mrs Rew can return to her career as a teacher, continues.
Information about potentially key people at the centre of the Supreme Court's Brexit case will be withheld due to "threats of serious violence". Lord Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court, revealed the extraordinary step as the legal battle over whether the UK Government needs parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 has reached the highest legal authority in the land. The order means no one can publish or reveal the names of certain former claimants in proceedings, the names or addresses of any children who are interested parties, any information likely to lead to the identification of those people or their families in connection with these proceedings, or the home address of the First Respondent to the case. Lord Neuberger said: "We have made this order largely because various individuals have received threats of serious violence and unpleasant abuse in emails and other electronic communications. "Threatening and abusing people because they are exercising their fundamental right to go to court undermines the rule of law. "Anyone who communicates such threats or abuse should be aware that there are legal powers designed to ensure that access to the courts is available to everyone." The Supreme Court is being asked to overturn a High Court ruling that the Prime Minister must seek MPs' approval to trigger the process of taking Britain out of the European Union. In a decision that infuriated Brexiteers, three senior judges said Theresa May lacked power to use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start the two-year process of negotiating Brexit without the prior authority of Parliament. 11 Supreme Court justices - a record number to sit on an appeal - will have their say on one of the most important constitutional cases in generations. If the appeal is unsuccessful, and any potential further appeal to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg also fails, the government's timetable for Brexit could be thrown into disarray. The Prime Minister has made it clear she intends to give an Article 50 notification by the end of next March to start negotiations with 27 other EU countries. Brexit Secretary David Davis is leading the government's historic legal action. His team of lawyers, headed by Attorney General Jeremy Wright, will argue in the four-day Supreme Court hearing that three High Court judges erred over Article 50 and its use was legally justified by the June 23 referendum vote in favour of quitting the EU. The Scottish and Welsh governments and the Attorney General for Northern Ireland are all intervening in the case. Scotland's Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC is to argue that it would be unlawful for the Article 50 process to start without a legislative consent motion (LCM) from Holyrood. Lord Neuberger added: "The Justices of the Court are of course aware of the public interest in this case. "And we are aware of the strong feelings associated with the many wider political questions surrounding the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. "However, as will be apparent from the arguments before us, those wider political questions are not the subject of this appeal. "This appeal is concerned with legal issues, and, as judges, our duty is to consider those issues impartially, and to decide the case according to the law. That is what we shall do."
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