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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

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.

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.

Dundee

Trial date set for Mary McLaren death accused

January 18 2011

The trial of the man accused of murdering Dundee mother Mary McLaren is to take place this spring. Patrick James Rae (40), a prisoner at Perth, denies murdering and raping Mrs McLaren between February 25 and March 10 last year. At a preliminary hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday, Lord Kinclaven ordered Rae to stand trial on May 3. Six weeks have been set aside for the case at the High Court in Edinburgh, and a further preliminary hearing to ensure all parties were ready for trial was ordered for April 6. Rae denies that at North Marketgait and elsewhere in Dundee, he assaulted Mrs McLaren, then of Rowantree Crescent, by seizing hold of her, forcibly removing her clothing, raping her, repeatedly punching her on the head, repeatedly striking her head and body on the ground and against a wall, or otherwise inflicting violence on her, repeatedly striking her on the neck with a knife or similar instrument, placing a piece of fabric or similar over her throat, seizing her by the throat, compressing, thereby restricting her breathing and murdering her. The indictment Rae is facing also alleges that between February 25 and March 15 at North Marketgait, Dundee, Brechin Road in Arbroath and elsewhere unknown, he concealed the body of Mary McLaren under leaf litter and plant foliage at North Marketgait and, at the same location and elsewhere, removed and disposed of a coat, bagging contents belonging to Mary McLaren. It is also alleged that, at the same location and elsewhere, he disposed of a knife or similar instrument. Rae is also accused of disposing of and washing clothes at Brechin Road, Arbroath, and elsewhere, doing so to avoid arrest, detection and prosecution and thus attempted to defeat the ends of justice. Rae's defence is being conducted by Mark Stewart QC, while the prosecution is being led by advocate depute David Young QC.

Dundee

Mary McLaren murder accused appears at preliminary hearing

April 7 2011

The man accused of raping and murdering Dundee mum Mary McLaren will stand trial early next month. Patrick James Rae (41), a prisoner at Perth, appeared from custody at the high court in Edinburgh at a preliminary hearing. Rae denies murdering and raping Mrs McLaren between February 25 and March 10, 2010. At the hearing defence advocate Mark Stewart QC lodged an updated witness list and a list of productions. Mr Stewart also outlined a number of outstanding issues that he moved could be dealt with on the trial date of Tuesday, May 3. There was no objection from advocate depute David Young QC, who also noted a number of procedural issues still to be resolved on the same date. Lord Tyre, who intimated he would preside over the trial, continued the case to the trial diet, for which six weeks have been set aside. Rae denies that at North Marketgait and elsewhere in Dundee he assaulted Mrs McLaren, of Rowantree Crescent, by seizing hold of her, forcibly removing her clothing, raping her, repeatedly punching her on the head, repeatedly striking her head and body on the ground and against a wall, or otherwise inflicting violence on her, repeatedly striking her on the neck with a knife or similar instrument, placing a piece of fabric or similar over her throat, seizing her by the throat, compressing, restricting her breathing and murdering her. He also denies that between February 25 and March 15, 2010, at North Marketgait, Dundee, Brechin Road in Arbroath and elsewhere unknown, he concealed the body of Mary McLaren under leaf litter and plant foliage at North Marketgait and, at the same location and elsewhere, removed and disposed of a coat, bagging contents belonging to Mary McLaren. It is also alleged that at the same location and elsewhere, he disposed of a knife or similar instrument, disposing of and washing clothes at Brechin Road, Arbroath, and elsewhere, doing so to avoid arrest, detection and prosecution and thus attempted to defeat the ends of justice.

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

Neighbours found man scratching on their door with kitchen knife

March 11 2015

Tenants in a block of Dundee flats looked out their front door spyhole in the early hours of Boxing Day to find a neighbour scratching the door with a large kitchen knife, a court was told. When they opened the door to confront the culprit, Mark Warren, 38, a prisoner at Perth, went back into his house with the knife. The tenants saw that he had made large scratch marks on their door and called the police, Dundee Sheriff Court heard. Warren was jailed for a year after admitting that, on December 26 2014, at Red Admiral Court, he possessed a knife while on bail and possessed diamorphine at Police Scotland Tayside Division HQ on Bell Street. Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court the incident arose after the tenants heard excessively loud music coming from Warren’s flat at 11pm on Christmas Day. Warren had come to their flat and there was a disagreement between them, Ms Robertson said. They separated at that point, but a short time later he returned to the front door and they could hear scratching noises coming from outside. The tenants looked through their spyhole and saw the accused on the other side of the door with a large bread knife, which he was using to scratch their door with, the fiscal said. “The neighbours opened the door to confront him and the accused went back into his own flat, the police were called and when they attended they saw fresh scratches on the door. “They entered his property and found a knife inside which the neighbours identified as being the knife he had used,” Ms Robertson continued. At police HQ, they found a £10 wrap of diamorphine, she added. Solicitor Theo Finlay said it was a “stupid and pointless act.” Sheriff Alastair Carmichael said: “This is your fourth conviction involving the carrying of a weapon of some kind or other. The only appropriate sentence is a custodial sentence.” He jailed Warren for 12 months.

Golf

Darren Fichardt out in front at Tshwane Open

March 1 2013

Darren Fichardt topped the leaderboard on day one of the Tshwane Open after he carded a seven-under-par 65 at the Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate. The South African, who is bidding to claim his second successive win on home soil after victory in the Africa Open two weeks ago, scored 31 on the back nine before firing birdies on the first, fourth and sixth holes to take a one-stroke lead over countryman Keith Horne and Sweden’s Bjorn Akesson. “The swing is good and I’m putting well,” Fichardt said. “This golf course is awesome. It’s very fair. The greens are very soft, so you’re able to attack the flags. I’m happy with seven under to start off with.” England’s Gary Lockerbie was tied for fourth on five under with countryman David Howell, Chile’s Mark Tullo, Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and South African Jean Hugo. Thirteen players were tied for eighth place a further shot back, ahead of Darren Clarke, the 2011 Open champion who was one of 14 men to finish the day on three under par. Marc Warren was top Scot on two under, with Fife’s Peter Whiteford one under, Scott Henry level par, David Drysdale and Chris Doak one over, and Callum Macaulay five over. Scottish youths champion Ewan Scott (St Andrews) was beaten by 3 and 2 in the semi-finals of the South African amateur match-play championship at Johannesburg Country Club. Scott, fifth in the South African Stroke-play Championship and the seventh seed for the match-play event, lost by 3 and 2 to the eighth seed, South African Andrew Light. In the morning quarter-finals, Scott had a great match against compatriot Fraser McKenna (Balmore) which went to the 20th green before Scott won. The all-South African final will feature Light against the 24th seed, Thriston Lawrence.

Golf

Desert Rose Justin moves out of shadow of golf’s big two

January 18 2013

Justin Rose underline yesterday what a force he also is now in golf. After McIlroy struggled to a 75 with his new Nike equipment and Woods began his season with a real mixed bag of a 72, Rose marked his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship debut with a five-under-par 67. The world No 5 shares the lead with Welshman Jamie Donaldson, both of them having holed a bunker shot as they established a one-stroke lead over Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal. “It’s the perfect start to get up on the leaderboard,” the 32-year-old added. “I knew it was going to be a tough afternoon (he had watched some of the earlier television coverage of McIlroy and Woods) and I felt very good about that score.” Donaldson beat McIlroy when he won his only European Tour title at the Irish Open last July, but Rose knows what it is like to beat them both. He did that twice last year, first in the world championship title in Miami in March Woods was already way out of contention when he withdrew injured on the final day and then in the unofficial World Golf Final in Turkey in October. He actually set off with a bogey, but by the time he made it from the sand beside the ninth green he was four under and getting up and down from another bunker at the long next took him alongside Donaldson. McIlroy double-bogeyed the 15th and third and said: “I feel like I was a little bit rusty not playing any competitive golf for eight weeks.” Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley shot 76 the same as Europe’s last two leaders, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal. Darren Clarke, who withdrew from the race for the job at Gleneagles next year to try to play in the match again, came home in 43 for a 79 while Paul Lawrie, another candidate for the job, shot 74. Leading scores (Gbr & Irl unless stated): 67 Justin Rose, Jamie Donaldson. 68 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa). 69 Michael Campbell (Nzl), David Howell, Wen-chong Liang (Chn), George Coetzee (Rsa), Henrik Stenson (Swe). 70 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), Joost Luiten (Ned), Danny Willett, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha). Other scores included: 71 Martin Kaymer (Ger), Ernie Els (Rsa), Paul Casey. 72 Tiger Woods (USA), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Craig Lee, Padraig Harrington. 73 Richie Ramsay, Peter Whiteford. 74 Paul Lawrie. 75 Scott Jamieson, Rory McIlroy. 76 Colin Montgomerie, Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa), Stephen Gallacher, Paul McGinley. 77 David Drysdale, Christopher Doak. 78 Scott Henry, Marc Warren. 79 Darren Clarke.

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