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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...

Dundee

City council reveals plans to breathe new life into Lochee High Street

January 16 2012

The much maligned Highgate Centre in Lochee is to be the focus of a major redevelopment of the once thriving burgh, according to proposals unveiled by the city council. It would be partially demolished to create a new open area with a car park, transport hub and shops. There would also be a new health and community centre similar to the life services building being constructed at Whitfield. The regeneration of Lochee has been a priority for the city council since the demise of the Stack Leisure Park and the departure of Tesco for a new store on South Road. The area fell into decline, with the depressed local economy leading to shop closures and urban blight. The Highgate Centre was at the root of many of the problems. Designed as a place for people to shop and meet friends for a coffee, it became a magnet for drug addicts and undesirables which the general public went out of their way to avoid. Trying to fix the existing flawed centre and associated buildings was ruled out and instead city planners worked on a more radical solution. Efforts began in earnest in 2005 when discussions opened with the shopping centre's former owners, and a comprehensive framework for the regeneration of Lochee was approved in 2008. It identified that negative perceptions of the area were a result of poor quality housing, the high number of vacant retail units and a lack of modern retail opportunities, as well as accessibility issues and transport connections. Since then more than £2m has been invested in the infrastructure, clearing the Weaver's Village and buying the Highgate Centre. The Highgate Centre is soon to be demolished and now the council has unveiled its grand designs for the new future for Lochee. The plan, which recommends the creation of a car park, public transport hub, new commercial retail buildings, housing and partial demolition of the Highgate Centre, will be the subject of public consultation if councillors back the move. Any health and community services building would be likely to be sited at the south end of the High Street in close proximity to other community buildings, including the library and swimming pool. Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee, said: ''The regeneration of Lochee has come a long way in recent years, but is still very much a work in progress. This next phase looks to put the heart back into the High Street by removing most of the Highgate and reopening links between the district centre and the by-pass to create more opportunities for business and a greater sense of activity.'' Lochee residents will have the chance to give their views on the need for a new health centre/community facility, similar to the life services building being built in Whitfield, if the proposed redevelopment plan goes ahead. The city development committee will be told that the redevelopment plan provides a basis on which to work with local businesses and community groups as well as attracting future investors to deliver quality redevelopment.

Dundee

Farmfoods makes bid to open new Lochee store

January 3 2013

Frozen food chain Farmfoods is hoping to win planning permission for a new store in Lochee. It has been trading at the Highgate Centre since 1989, attracting about 5,000 customers each week. Its premises are in the way of the proposed new access road which will connect the middle of Lochee High Street with Coupar Angus Road. It is waiting to hear if the city council will allow it to build a replacement store and a second shop for another user nearby. A Farmfoods spokesman said: “We were happy to remain within Lochee and our main objective when considering a relocation was to find a unit that had level parking next to our customer entrance so that customers could take trolleys directly to their cars. “The proposed design provides a car park area beside the entrance to the proposed new Farmfoods unit. This will increase the viability of the unit and will provide an additional choice of food retailing currently not available with the Highgate. “The proposal helps make good use of the significant investment being made by the council to improve the car park layout within the Highgate. “Financial terms have been agreed with the council and it is proposed that Farmfoods will build two units one for their own use and the second to be leased by the council to another retailer or similar user.” The proposal would see enough of the Highgate redevelopment completed to allow the two shops to be built and opened. The current Farmfoods shop would then close and be demolished. In a separate planning application, the owners of the Stack Leisure Park in Lochee are asking to for a change to its existing consent for the redevelopment of the former Megabowl. TJ Morris already plans to use the western part of the building for one of its own Home Bargains stores, with an 18,000 sq ft unit in the eastern half being made vailable to another retailer. It is asking the council to remove a condition that prevents food from being sold from this unit, arguing this will complement rather than conflict with the existing shops in nearby High Street. grsmith@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Dundee

Cancer Research UK shop in Lochee says ‘thank you’ to supporters

June 21 2013

Cancer Research UK has thanked everyone who has supported its Lochee shop as it prepares to close its doors after 25 years. The shop is in the Highgate Centre, which is due to be demolished as part of the city council’s plan to redevelop the High Street and try to improve its attractiveness for visitors. The charity said it wanted to pay tribute to the generosity of all the people who had donated or bought items over the years and also thank the staff and volunteers who had put so much effort into making it a success. Shop manager Shona Duncan said: “We are very sad to close the shop, which is due to the Highgate Centre closing. “I would like to say a huge thank-you to my team of volunteers who have given up their time over the last 25 years and have done a fantastic job, and to the community for the amazing support we’ve received,” she said. Loyal customers who still want to support Cancer Research UK after the Lochee shop closes on the June 27 are being invited to use the Broughty Ferry store on Brook Street instead. There are also other ways of volunteering for the charity, including at events such as this weekend’s Race for Life at Camperdown Park. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK was able to spend more than £5 million last year in Dundee on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. Ninewells Hospital is home to the Dundee Cancer Centre, which brings together doctors, nurses and scientists to collaborate in training the next generation of cancer researchers and support work aimed at taking laboratory studies all the way through to patient treatments. Area manager for Cancer Research UK, Ken Donaldson, said: “We’re very grateful for the support of the volunteers and customers over the years and we hope they’ll continue to support our work.”

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

Dundee

Latest phase of Lochee regeneration set to start

July 5 2013

The latest phase of the regeneration of Lochee will take shape over the coming months. Work will include the second phase of demolition of the former Highgate Centre and the recreation of a number of historical streets and paths to create a new streetscape and development opportunities. Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “A lot has already been done in the past year with the replacement of unpopular housing and the first stage of demolishing the Highgate, as well as other physical changes to the High Street and surrounding areas. “When Highgate is completely razed it will clear the way for the route of the new Bank Street to connect the bypass to the High Street and link the heart of the commercial area with opportunities for improved transport connections.” A framework for the regeneration of Lochee was approved in 2008, which claims the negative perceptions of the area have come from poor quality housing, the high number of vacant retail units and a lack of modern retail opportunities, as well as accessibility issues and transport connections. Aimer Square/Balgay Street will be connected to Lochee High Street in the next few weeks with the new St Ann Lane opposite the library. It is hoped this will open up the potential of surrounding redevelopment sites for residential and commercial uses. The next stages of the project will bring about the creation of a new car park and events space, including a small area of green space on the High Street. The first phase of the Highgate was cleared away last December and the underpass has been closed to be replaced with a pedestrian crossing. Farmfoods, one of the “anchor shops” in the area, has opened a new shop on the prominent Flights Lane, a street name that recalls a historic thoroughfare from old Lochee. A new building next to Farmfoods is also being marketed by Dundee City Council for a range of uses appropriate for the district centre, and the council is developing improvement projects for the surrounding areas to keep up the regeneration momentum. Mr Dawson said: “The masterplan that is fast emerging was endorsed by community groups last year. “We have been working closely with community representatives, traders and other interested groups throughout the redevelopment process, and while it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time, in general terms the masterplan has been welcomed as a positive step towards regenerating this lively and historic part of the city.” Last month Dundee Pensioners Forum were “delighted” when the council took their comments on board and agreed to lower a pavement in the area. The group took part in a national campaign to improve the accessibility of our streets for people with limited mobility and sent a wishlist of changes to the local authority of things they felt would make life easier. The list included cars and taxis stopping at the designated crossing areas of the street preventing safe crossings and a “significant camber” on the pavement north of a pub that would disadvantage wheelchair users. The council responded saying it would install a dropped footway area to the High St/Nicholas Lane as part of the ongoing regeneration works in Lochee.

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.

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.

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