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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

Dundee United

Ticket us Dundee United boss wants equal share of Ibrox for Rangers semi-final

March 18 2014

Jackie McNamara believes Dundee United will have a better chance of reaching the Scottish Cup final if they are allocated half of Ibrox. The Tangerines will line up against Rangers at the Light Blues’ own ground for their semi-final on April 12, a venue they are not happy about for obvious reasons. Their attempt at getting the SFA to switch the tie to Celtic Park having fallen on deaf ears, United have now turned their attention to getting a fair share of tickets. Their provisional allocation has been set at just 13,100 but, having shown they can take 28,000-plus to Glasgow for a cup final just four years ago, they are looking for more. The stadium’s capacity is 51,082 but when you factor in the seats that would be retained for segregation, sponsors and hospitality etc, that would clip a few thousand off that figure. As things stand, United supporters are likely to be housed in the Broomloan Stand, as well as part of the Bill Struth Main Stand, leaving “home” supporters in the Govan and Copland Road Stands. However, manager McNamara says such an arrangement would hand an advantage to Ally McCoist’s team and he wants a more equitable distribution. “I think, like most people, I’m surprised the decision for the semi-final venue was made so early,” he said. “I don’t understand why that was the case. “Had it been Celtic who got to the semi-final, what would they (the SFA) have done? Kept it at Ibrox and split the allocation? “There is no doubt Ibrox and Celtic Park are the best two stadiums available. “Could they have changed it to Parkhead? Possibly, but we knew the situation before the draw and we certainly have enough time to prepare for the game. “There is no doubt we are at a disadvantage. It gives Rangers an advantage because it’s their home stadium. It would be the same if it was at Tannadice because we know the stadium and the pitch. “So they have an advantage regardless of the ticket allocation, but a 50-50 split would certainly give us a better chance. “We will wait and see what the allocation is now that we know who we are playing. “I would like to think we could take half the tickets. We’ve had good backing from the fans and it’s a neutral venue so I don’t see why we shouldn’t get half.” While United will fight for what they see as their right to have at least the chance to have as many fans at the match as the opposition, McNamara insists that, on the day, he won’t need to use the furore to spur his players on. “Whatever the decision we won’t use the chosen venue or ticket allocation to motivate the players as if it’s some type of injustice,” he said. “The chance to go and play Rangers at Ibrox to get into a final is motivation enough. “The venue might give Rangers an advantage but it doesn’t change anything for the players or myself as far as going there to win is concerned. If it’s Ibrox, Celtic Park or Hampden, the occasion should be the only motivation needed for any player.”

Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers ask SFA to investigate Rangers player’s recall

September 3 2015

Raith Rovers have requested that the SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan investigates whether Rangers broke the governing body’s rules by bringing Ryan Hardie back early from Scotland Under-19 duty ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two Championship sides at Ibrox. The Kirkcaldy club say that Rangers assistant manager David Weir helped secure the player’s release before the Under-19s face Bulgaria tomorrow night. While Hardie will now be available to play at Ibrox, Raith will be without on-loan Dundee striker Craig Wighton who has remained with the squad. In a statement, the club said: “Ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Championship match versus Rangers at Ibrox, Raith Rovers FC has today asked the Scottish FA’s Compliance Officer to consider whether he agrees that Rangers FC, through David Weir, have breached SFA Articles and Rules by requesting and securing the early release of its player Ryan Hardie from international duty with Scotland Under-19s in Bulgaria, for the sole reason that he is then available to play against Raith Rovers. “Raith Rovers FC also has an important player in the same Under-19 squad, 1st team regular Craig Wighton. Craig remains in Bulgaria and available for selection for Friday evening’s national representative match. “He will fly home with the rest of the squad on Saturday afternoon. We are delighted that Craig is receiving international recognition, and whilst we are without his services for the crucial match with Rangers, our loss is Scotland’s gain. “Naturally we are concerned that if there is any breach of Article 82.1 and Rules 56 & 57, this would in these circumstances result in an unfairness in terms of players available for selection for Saturday’s match, which is to our disadvantage.” Scottish FA Article 82.1 states: “If any player selected to attend any international or other match arranged by the Scottish FA refuses without good and sufficient cause to comply with the arrangements for playing in such match or fails to attend such match, the Judicial Panel may find him to have been in breach of this Article 82.1, and any club or official or Team Official or other member of Team Staff who may be found to have encouraged or instigated or caused such player so to refuse shall likewise be deemed to be in breach of this Article 82.1 and the provisions of Article 95 shall apply.”

Perth & Kinross

Simple Minds added to BBC’s live music extravaganza at Scone Palace

February 2 2018

Simple Minds will play Scone Palace in Perthshire as part of a sensational summer of live music. The Scottish rock icons have been added to BBC Music Biggest Weekend’s expanding line-up. The event, on May 25 and 26, will be headlined by former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher and classical music star Nigel Kennedy. (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')); We're thrilled to announce that Simple Minds Official have joined our #BiggestWeekend line up! 🙌🏻Get ready Perth, this is set to be a performance you will never forget 😎 Posted by BBC Music on Friday, 2 February 2018 The festival is expected to deliver a major economic boost to the area. Simple Minds will play on Saturday, May 26 – the same day as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The announcement comes just days after US superstar Lionel Richie revealed plans for a major outdoor concert at Perth’s McDiarmid Stadium. Tickets for the June 3 show, Richie’s only Scottish date on his upcoming UK tour, go on sale on Friday morning.

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.

Derek McInnes vows to ignore Rangers job link as Dons eye revenge for Ibrox loss

December 1 2017

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes says he will continue to ignore the “sideshow” surrounding the Rangers vacancy despite fresh links to the Ibrox post. Press Association Sport understands Light Blues chiefs are still targeting the Pittodrie manager to replace Pedro Caixinha. It has been five weeks since the Portuguese boss was axed and Rangers have yet to make an official approach. However, chairman Dave King is preparing to make his move and an offer for McInnes could be lodged as soon as Sunday’s clash between the teams is out of the way. McInnes, though, is continuing to focus on the present job at hand. He said last week that he is happy to stay put in the Granite City and for now is only concentrating on making amends after his side’s lifeless display against Rangers in midweek. “Things get magnified by others but we are the professionals and we get on with the job,” he said. “It’s always about the game. We just look at the next opponent. Everything else is a sideshow for everyone else to talk about. “We’ve had such a poor record as a club over the last wee while down at Ibrox but we did expect more of ourselves, especially having won down there the last time. “But we’ve got a chance immediately to put a smile back on the supporters’ faces again and that is the aim. ” The Dons got off to a nightmare start when they gifted Rangers an early penalty in Glasgow and went on to lose 3-0 to caretaker boss Graeme Murty’s team. But McInnes has spent the days since trying to lift spirits and ensure his side put up a better fight this weekend. The Light Blues can overtake the Reds and move up to second spot with victory in part two of this week’s double-header. McInnes said: “We’ve been second in the league over the last few years because we haven’t lost too many times and when we have, we’ve normally responded pretty quickly. “For us to be up there again this season, the need to respond is always there. “Wednesday was a sore one, I didn’t enjoy the day after, but it’s been important to get everyone in a more positive frame of mind again. “Now it’s another game and we do back ourselves. We do believe we are a good team. We’re sitting in the league where we are a good team. “It’s not all doom and gloom. People need to be reminded of that. “But at the same time we’re well aware that when you lose games, criticism comes, so it’s about dealing with that and responding to it. “So I fully expect us to do a lot better, especially in the early parts, to make the game go our way. “Like all teams, we’re searching for the consistency that will allow us to put results back-to-back. But first things first, let’s go and get the three points back that we lost the other night.”

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

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.


Celtic Park to host Scottish Cup final

October 30 2013

Celtic Park has been named as the venue for this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup final. The Scottish Football Association has also announced Ibrox as the venue for both of the semi-finals. Hampden is unavailable because it is being redeveloped to stage the athletics events at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Celtic Park, which last hosted the final when Hearts beat Rangers in 1998during the rebuilding of Hampden, is Scotland’s largest football stadium with acapacity of 60,355, making it a similar size to the home of Scottish rugby,Murrayfield. Ibrox holds 51,082. SFA president Campbell Ogilvie said: “We are fortunate in Scotland to have three world-class football stadia and, with Hampden Park due to undergo redevelopment work ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it is natural that we would seek to utilise both Celtic Park and Ibrox Stadium as venues for Scottish football’s premier cup competition.” Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell was “delighted” with the news. Lawwell said: “As we have seen this season, Celtic Park continues to be one of the finest stadia in European football, producing an occasion and an atmosphere like no other – we are sure our stadium will provide a brilliant setting for our national cup final. “Clearly, Celtic are cup holders and I am sure Neil (Lennon) and the team will be doing all they can to ensure that we go as far as we can in the competition and hopefully be part of this great final at the end of the season.” Rangers finance director Brian Stockbridge welcomed the use of Ibrox for the last four. He said in an SFA statement: “The Scottish FA’s decision to play these ties at the home of Scotland’s most successful club underlines the fact that Ibrox remains one of European football’s elite arenas. “Of course we hope to travel far in this competition ourselves but no matter who plays at Ibrox they can be certain of the warmest of welcomes.” The semi-finals will take place on April 12-13 and the final will be held on May 17.