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…
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
Dundonians winning Commonwealth Games gold medals are as rare as hens’ teeth, so Mark Stewart’s return to Dundee with one from Australia should be celebrated in style. He joins Dick McTaggart and Liz McColgan in a rarefied trio, and plans to rename the Caird Park Velodrome after him are fitting. They would also recognise the great work of the many volunteers who have put huge efforts into developing the Discovery Junior Cycling Club of which Mark was a member, from scratch 13 years ago to its current successful position. Mark’s brother Kevin, a sprinter, represented Scotland at the Delhi Commonwealth games, and some fine young cyclists are currently emerging from the club. The gold medal gives them, and kids who may now flock to the club, an enormous boost. In the wake of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the legacy saw a big uplift in the number of kids joining. Words of caution though - track and road racing are not for softies. They are tough, gruelling sports. Mark Stewart’s face after the demands of the 40km points race was testament to the stamina sapping, and lung bursting demands on the body. As Sir Chris Hoy Tweeted: ‘Last time I looked like this was when I stepped on one of my wee boy’s bits of Lego’. He was right. Etched on Stewart’s face was all of the pain and suffering from a phenomenal physical effort to take gold ahead of England’s Ethan Hayter, and New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart. I’ve watched Mark’s fierce ambition and drive to be the best he could be since he was a 12-year-old, and in the 10 years since, that has strengthened and increased. His Australian gold medal is rich reward for the sacrifices he has made, and further glory surely lies ahead for this 22-year-old, who shows courage and heart in abundance every time he mounts his bike. * Dundee FC took some stick in midweek for announced price rises, which would see games against Celtic and Rangers costing £30 next season. Running a professional football club though is not easy, and the American owners are already making significant losses. The rent for an old stadium, long past its sell by date, and the wage bill for a big squad, doesn’t come cheap. When Dundee fans had control of the club they couldn’t wait to offload it to someone with money. As neighbouring United fans have discovered, there is severe unwillingness of local buyers or investors to put their hard earned cash into either of the city sides. Both appear to be guaranteed to cost the owners money. The financial upkeep of both outfits is, I think, becoming a major issue, and may yet force serious thinking as to what the future of the two clubs is. Dundee are hoping to move to a new stadium, but still need to overcome some obstacles if it’s to happen. United need to escape a division which is crucifying them financially, and are hoping that possible American investment will secure their future. Neither club currently can be filled with optimism for the road ahead.
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.
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.
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.
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. email@example.com
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.
Here’s a happy tale of everyday Highland folk who must be the antecedents of thousands of people in Perthshire. They are John Stewart, who must have been born around 1820 and his wifeonly known as Mrs Stewart. The couple made the news in 1907 by celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary an event described as unique in Strathtay. They lived at Portnasallan Ferry House, Grandtully, and had a family of eight sons and five daughters, 71 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. It seems they were firmly rooted in Highland Perthshire. A quick look at genealogy sites shows Stewarts at that address in 1686 at the very least. In his younger days, Mr Stewart had been “closely identified” with smuggling, which, according to our article almost amounted to a local industry and had been regarded as an “honourable” one. Mr Stewart served his apprenticeship as a shoemaker and worked for two years in Luncarty and a further two years in Blairgowrie. He returned to his native Balnaguard and carried on his business for a good number of years before the family moved to Portnasallan in 1851, described in our report as a picturesque old Highland cottage. He worked as a ferryman until 1868 when Grandtully Bridge was built. Mr Stewart then turned his hand to timber, rafting wood from the Breadalbane forest down the river to Perth. When the railway came, Mr Stewart landed a job as porter at Grandtully station, where he worked for 14 years. Between 1868 and 1903 he served as beadle at Strathtay Free Kirk, later to become Strathtay United Free Kirk. A keen sportsman, Mr Stewart could handle a gun and was a skilful trout angler. To mark their special anniversary, family members presented the couple with a purse of sovereigns and Rev DRC Maclagan on behalf of subscribing neighbours presented them with two armchairs and a pair of slippers each. I would like to discover Mrs Stewart’s first name.
The family of a mystery Fife soldier who received a royal letter for having nine sons and a son-in-law serving in the British Army during the First World War have been traced. Cardenden historian David Blane enlisted the help of The Courierlast month to track down descendents of David Stewart, who lived in Rosewell Cottages in Lochore in 1915. Mr Blane was keen to find out more about Mr Stewart after receiving a copy of a letter written to him by King George V expressing his appreciation 10 members of his family were in service at the same time. The letter, dated January 13 2015, was sent from Buckingham Palace by Frederick Ponsonby, the Keeper of the Privy Purse on behalf of the King. It reads: “I am commanded to express to you The King’s congratulations and to assure you that His Majesty much appreciates the spirit of patriotism which prompted this example, in one family, of loyalty and devotion to their Sovereign and Empire.” Mr Blane, a military researcher for the Benarty Heritage Preservation Group, has spent the last 18 months gathering information on local soldiers like Mr Stewart ahead of a commemorative exhibition he has organised for September 26. Mr Blane’s research revealed that Mr Stewart had been in the 3rd Hussars for 15 years. His sons were: David, Highland Light Infantry; Alexander, Black Watch; William, Black Watch; James, Black Watch; John, Black Watch; Charles, Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders; Joseph, Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders; Robert, Cameron Highlanders; George, Army Service Corps. Mr Stewart’s son-in-law was Alexander Linton and served in the Royal Scots. As a result of The Courier appeal, Mr Stewart’s great-great-granddaughter Maureen Stewart got in touch with Mr Blane. Maureen, who lives in Dunfermline, said: “It was actually my dad who saw the article as he gets The Courier every day and he just passed it to me with a smile and said: ‘There’s somebody looking for you’. “I didn’t realise what he meant until I read the story and realised it was about my great-great-grandad. “The letter was a well known fact within the family and it’s funny because we were just talking about it just before we saw the article.” Maureen’s dad, William Stewart, 81, said: “I lived with my grandad, William Stewart, for a while and he often told me about the letter but we never knew what happened to it. Mr Stewart, who has lived in Dunfermline since 1954, served in the navy as a leading mechanical engineer. “Like my grandad, I also served in The Black Watch when I was younger, as a cadet. After he lived in Lochore my grandad moved to Leslie.” Mr Blane, who served with the Royal Engineers and Royal Scots, said: “I’m very pleased members of the Stewart family have come forward and I am looking forward to meeting them in the near future.” As a result of his research, Mr Blane has uncovered the names of 226 other local soldiers and is hoping sometime in the near future their names will be added to the village’s war memorial. The Great War exhibition will take place at Benarty Centre in Ballingry on September 26 from 10am until 8pm.