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
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.
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.
A former Boyzone star has told a court of his life with his “crazy” ex-girlfriend before she allegedly murdered her French nanny.Mark Walton, who created the Irish boy band in 1993, flew in from Los Angeles to give evidence at the Old Bailey trial of fashion designer Sabrina Kouider.The 35-year-old mother and her partner Ouissem Medouni, 40, are accused of murdering au pair Sophie Lionnet and throwing her body on a bonfire at their home in Wimbledon, south west London.The couple had allegedly tortured the shy 21-year-old into “confessing” to being in league with Mr Walton.A witness, who cannot be identified, described how she screamed and splashed in the bath as Kouider demanded she “told the truth” two days before her body was found.Mr Walton said the first he knew of Miss Lionnet was when murder squad detectives contacted him in September last year.He said Kouider had been “abusive” and “exhibited a manipulative and controlling nature” with a “calculating streak”.He had previously described her as a “really gentle, sweet, loving” person who could become “quite scary” in seconds.He told jurors: “Sabrina shared some stories from her past.“I guess knowing that, I felt it brought us closer together at times, but it was turbulent, probably the most turbulent relationship I had ever been in.“She would go from softly spoken French accent then she would flip, get very angry, very loud and just not care where we were.“She would just go crazy over something trivial.”The wealthy music mogul supported her financially through the highs and lows of his successful career.After leaving Boyzone, he found success with Fifth Avenue and more recently as a judge on Vietnam Pop Idol.The softly-spoken Irishman said he met Kouider in a NatWest bank in Notting Hill in 2011 and hit it off straight away.He said: “I was in love. She was my life then so…”He gave her thousands of pounds a month, paid for nannies and even covered £12,800 in rent after she had left him, the court heard.Kouider fired her nannies, accusing them of stealing or being attracted to her “friendly” boyfriend, the court heard.The musician said they lived together for two years in Queensway, London, before she disappeared and they split up.On Kouider’s outlandish accusations of a conspiracy between Mr Walton and the victim, prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: “Have you ever been party to a plot to drug the people in the Wimbledon flat and whilst unconscious sexually abuse the occupants?”Mr Walton said: “Absolutely not.”Orlando Pownall QC, for Medouni, said: “You must have asked yourself many times where did it go wrong?”While they were together, Kouider would fly into a rage, even shouting in Oxford Street “the Boyzone’s broken – he’s got no money” as they shopped together, the court was told.In 2012, police had been called a number of times over various accusations, including that he had photos of another woman on his phone, jurors heard.Her complaints ranged for “mistreating” a cat, walking into the house with “muddy” shoes and stopping her from seeing friends.After Mr Walton stopped paying her rent in 2014, she took out a non-molestation order claiming harassment, the court heard.She also rang his mother in Dublin, contacted his business partners and created a fake Facebook page accusing him of being a “paedophile”, he said.Mr Walton told jurors: “I was broken, emotionally broken but I loved her.”Icah Peart QC, for Kouider, suggested Mr Walton was a very wealthy man, even being described as a billionaire in one media report.Mr Walton denied he was that rich, but added: “I’m doing okay.”The court has heard there is no truth in any of the accusations against him.Kouider and Medouni have admitted perverting the course of justice but deny murder.
An ex-Boyzone pop star has told jurors of the alleged abuse he suffered at the hands of a “manipulative” ex-girlfriend accused of murdering her French nanny.Pop Idol Vietnam judge Mark Walton flew in from Los Angeles to give evidence at the Old Bailey trial of fashion designer Sabrina Kouider.The 35-year-old mother and her partner Ouissem Medouni, 40, are accused of murdering au pair Sophie Lionnet and throwing her body on a bonfire at their home in Wimbledon, south west London.The couple had allegedly tortured the 21-year-old into “confessing” to being in league with Mr Walton in connection with drugs and abuse at the household.But Mr Walton said the first he knew of Miss Lionnet was when murder squad detectives contacted him in September last year.He told how Kouider had been “abusive” and “exhibited a manipulative and controlling nature” with a “calculating streak”.He had previously described her as a “really gentle, sweet, loving” person who could become “quite scary” in seconds.He told jurors: “Sabrina shared some stories from her past.“I guess knowing that, I felt it brought us closer together at times, but it was turbulent, probably the most turbulent relationship I had ever been in.“She would go from softly spoken French accent then she would flip, get very angry, very loud and just not care where we were.“She would just go crazy over something trivial.”The wealthy music mogul supported her financially through the highs and lows of his successful career.Having created Boyzone in 1993, he found success with Fifth Avenue and more recently as a judge on Vietnam Pop Idol.The softly-spoken Irishman said he met Kouider in a NatWest bank in Notting Hill in 2011 and hit it off straight away.He said: “I was in love. She was my life then so…”He gave her thousands of pounds a month, paid for nannies and even covered £12,800 in rent after she had left him, the court heard.Kouider fired her nannies, accusing them of stealing or being attracted to her “friendly” boyfriend, the court heard.The musician said they lived together for two years in Queensway, London, before she disappeared and they split up.Referring to outlandish accusations levelled at him by Kouider, prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: “Have you ever been party to a plot to drug the people in the Wimbledon flat and whilst unconscious sexually abuse the occupants?”Mr Walton said: “Absolutely not.”Orlando Pownall QC, for Medouni, said: “You must have asked yourself many times where did it go wrong?”While they were together, Kouider would fly into a rage, even shouting in Oxford Street “the Boyzone’s broken – he’s got no money” as they shopped together, the court was told.In 2012, police had been called a number of times over various accusations, including that he had photos of another woman on his phone, jurors heard.Her complaints ranged for “mistreating” a cat, walking into the house with “muddy” shoes and stopping her from seeing friends.After Mr Walton stopped paying her rent in 2014, she took out a non-molestation order claiming harassment, the court heard.She also rang his mother in Dublin, contacted his business partners and created a fake Facebook page accusing him of being a “paedophile”, he said.Mr Walton told jurors: “I was broken, emotionally broken but I loved her.”Icah Peart QC, for Kouider, suggested Mr Walton was a very wealthy man, even being described as a billionaire in one media report.Mr Walton denied he was that rich, but added: “I’m doing okay.”Kouider and Medouni have admitted perverting the course of justice but deny murder.Later, a witness described hearing Miss Lionnet “splashing” and “screaming” in the bathroom with the defendants a couple of days before she was found dead.Kouider allegedly told the witness, who cannot be identified, that she would not let her out of the bath until she “told the truth”.Previously, she had “pushed and slapped” Miss Lionnet, who was afraid that “if she said one word wrong she would get even worse”, the witness said in a videoed interview.
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
Southampton are through to the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in 15 years after a 2-0 victory over Wigan in Mark Hughes’ first game in charge.Wigan were looking to reach the last four for the third time in six seasons and the 2013 winners dominated the first half but paid for not taking their chances.Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg hooked in a 62nd-minute corner for his first Saints goal and Manolo Gabbiadini then had a 73rd-minute penalty brilliantly saved by Christian Walton before Cedric Soares added a second in stoppage time to secure Southampton’s place in the last four, where they were drawn against Chelsea.Paul Cook’s men can now focus on their League One promotion push after another memorable cup run, including the scalp of Manchester City in the last round, while Hughes will hope this result can be the catalyst for a push towards Premier League safety.For all Wigan’s dominance, summed up by 10 corners to Southampton’s zero, the first half was desperately short of clear-cut chances.It was the visitors who had the first opening when Walton dropped an 11th-minute free-kick at the feet of Guido Carrillo but the striker’s lack of confidence showed as he poked the ball weakly back into the goalkeeper’s arms.Nathan Byrne gave Southampton a torrid time down the right and he sparked chaos in the Saints’ defence five minutes later but his shot took a deflection and, with Chey Dunkley just unable to apply the finishing touch, the ball rolled past a post.Mario Lemina, Sofiane Boufal and Gabbiadini offered moments of danger but the consistent pressure was coming from Wigan and Gary Roberts was the next to go close, choosing an attempted lob after Jack Stephens met a long ball with a weak header when he might have been better going for power.Alex McCarthy was finally tested in the 42nd minute when a Max Power corner moved viciously in the wind and would have dipped under the bar but for a strong hand from the keeper.Hughes was far from pleased as he walked off for half-time but it did not take long in the second period for Southampton to start to look like the higher-division sideAfter Michael Jacobs went close for Wigan, Boufal produced Southampton’s best effort in the 57th minute with a free-kick that landed on the roof of the Wigan net and a careless back pass from Byrne left Gabbiadini with only Walton to beat but the keeper produced a fine save to bail out his team-mate.And, unlike Wigan, Saints capitalised on their superiority. Walton pushed over Hojbjerg’s bullet header but the keeper was unable to prevent the same player hooking in the resulting corner.Cook responded by sending on Nick Powell, who he ruled out on Friday because of a hamstring problem, and Ryan Colclough for Roberts and Gavin Massey while Nathan Redmond came on for Southampton.But Saints were a different proposition now and Latics defender Dan Burn had his head in his hands when his desperate lunge to stop Gabbiadini after he had been played clean through by Ryan Bertrand resulted in a penalty. Gabbiadini struck the ball towards the corner but Walton flung himself to his left and pushed it away.Wigan pushed increasingly desperately for one final chance and Noel Hunt should have tested McCarthy but could not get enough on his header. Moments later Cedric broke away before finishing confidently past Walton to book Southampton’s place at Wembley.
A delusional couple have been found guilty of killing their French nanny over a bizarre obsession with an ex-Boyzone popstar.Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, built a warped fantasy around music mogul Mark Walton and accused Sophie Lionnet of being in league with him.Kouider collapsed in tears as the jury foreman returned the verdicts, while Medouni hung his head.Miss Lionnet’s mother Catherine Devallonne also wept as Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said he was sure the allegations against her daughter had “no truth whatsoever”.In the weeks leading up to her death in September last year, the couple beat, starved and tortured the shy 21-year-old au pair by dunking her head into water until she confessed.Having killed her in the bath, the pair threw her on a bonfire in the garden of their home near Wimbledon, south-west London, as they barbecued chicken nearby.When firefighters were alerted by neighbours to pungent-smelling smoke, Medouni tried to pass off the charred remains as a sheep.And Kouider claimed to police that Miss Lionnet had run off with Mr Walton in an attempt to frame him for her disappearance.The defendants later admitted disposing of her body but denied Miss Lionnet’s murder, blaming each other for her death.An Old Bailey jury found both of them guilty of the murder following a two-month trial that was described as stranger than fiction.Miss Lionnet’s parents travelled from France to see the disturbing evidence as it unfolded.The court heard how fashion designer Kouider was fixated with her ex-boyfriend Mr Walton.After splitting up after two years, Kouider reported him to police more than 30 times and received a caution for branding him a paedophile on a fake Facebook profile.She also accused him of sexually abusing a cat, using black magic and hiring a helicopter to spy on her.Giving evidence, LA-based Mr Walton said he had been “in love” with Kouider but she would “flip” and go “crazy” for no reason.Another ex-boyfriend Anthony Francois described her as a “lunatic, fickle and unstable”.The mother-of-two created a fantasy world casting Mr Walton as an evil villain who seduced Miss Lionnet with sex and promises of Hollywood stardom.Banker Medouni became an ardent believer in Kouider’s twisted reality and they interrogated Miss Lionnet for hours to get to “the truth”.Jurors heard more than eight hours of recordings in which Miss Lionnet was slapped, likened to a Nazi collaborator and called “worse than a murderer” by her tormentors.Kouider, who claimed to know influential people including US President Donald Trump, threatened to have her locked up and even marched her to a police station.The victim’s distraught mother Catherine Devallonne had begged Kouider to send her daughter home but she refused.In her final days, Miss Lionnet was hit with an electrical cable and beaten so badly she had five broken ribs and a cracked breast bone.In a filmed “confession”, the emaciated and broken young woman admitted she had drugged Medouni so Mr Walton could sexually assault him. Within hours, she was dead.According to Kouider, Medouni tortured her in the bath, then demanded they have sex as her dead body lay nearby.She told jurors: “He was putting her head under the water and sometimes he would put water on the towel in her mouth. It was getting really mad.”Before the trial, Medouni claimed Miss Lionnet died by accident after he punched her during an interrogation in the bath.He offered to admit manslaughter but later retracted his confession, saying he made it to protect his wife, who has been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder.In his evidence, Medouni claimed his wife had woken him up in a state saying “what have I done, what have I done”.He was shocked to find Miss Lionnet unconscious in the bath and tried to revive her, he claimed.He said Kouider refused to call 999 and told him they would “burn her” instead.A witness in the house, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, placed both defendants in the bathroom with Miss Lionnet on the night of her death.He described hearing Miss Lionnet screaming and splashing in the bath as they said to “breathe”.Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC told jurors that neither were prepared to admit the truth – that they killed her out of “revenge and punishment”.He said their “unhealthy, myopic, all-consuming and groundless” obsession with Mr Walton had deprived them of reason and turned their nanny into “something less than human”.The judge is expected to sentence the pair on June 26 at the Old Bailey.
A French nanny described having fears like a “little spike” to the heart before she was killed and her body thrown on a bonfire, a court heard.Sophie Lionnet, 21, was allegedly murdered by her employers Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni after they became fixated that she was in league with a former pop star.Before her death, they forced her to confess to outlandish claims against Kouider’s ex-boyfriend Mark Walton, who founded Irish band Boyzone, the Old Bailey has heard.In French and halting English, Miss Lionnet wrote about supposed meetings with the Pop Idol Vietnam judge in which she claimed he indecently assaulted her.Amid the rambling account, she also told of missing her friends and family and being “scared” and “lost”, the court heard.Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC read out the handwritten pages detailing how LA-based Mr Walton promised to use his contacts to get her a job in films.She wrote that she liked dance, movies and music, and was a fan of actors Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone.According to the notes, Mr Walton asked if she wanted to be “famous and have a lot of money” like her idols but she told him “you don’t need a lot of money to be happy”.She described secret meetings in London in which Mr Walton demanded to know about Kouider’s life.On one alleged meeting, she wrote: “I’m really scared this day more than before. My heart. I feel this little spike, I mean like when you go to have a tattoo. I feel like this in my heart.”She claimed he put his hand on her chest and “started to touch my private place” before she managed to get away.She wrote: “I was afraid, scared, lost. I don’t know what to do. When I was going home I was like keeping the smile like nothing happen.”She went on: “I just want to go back to my family. I promised them I’m going to come back soon because I miss them and they miss me.”The court has heard that none of the allegations against Mr Walton were true.Kouider, 35, and Medouni, 40, of Wimbledon, south west London, have admitted perverting the course of justice but deny murdering Miss Lionnet in September last year.