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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...


Go green for St Patrick’s Day

March 17 2016

Every year on the 17th of March, around the world the Irish and also those who are simply Irish at heart celebrate St Patrick's Day. The day is celebrated in many different ways worldwide, with events each year becoming more innovative than the next.A spectacular sight is the Chicago River which is dyed green in St Patrick’s honour and in Dubai, the Burg Al Arab is turned green at night creating a truly stunning sight. These may be magnificent displays, but really, what could be better than celebrating St Patrick’s Day in the city of Dublin? Take a look at our top tips on how to celebrate this holiday in the city.St Patrick’s ParadeOn St Patrick’s Day (17th March) join in with the crowd’s lining the streets of the city to watch the fantastic parade. Crowds can exceed 500,000 and the paradeis broadcasted onto numerous major TV networked in Ireland and other parts of the world. Today theparade followed the theme of ‘Imagine If’ which reflects the youth of Ireland and their impact on the future.Guinness StorehouseVisit one of Dublin’s top city attractions and sample a pint of the famous black stuff. Over the St Patrick’s festival, the store house is putting on a number of exciting events including live music and lots of opportunities to jig the night away.Enjoy the greening of the citySee the famous landmarks of the beautiful city as you have never seen them before - lit up in green to celebrate the national holiday. Building’s that are participating include Trinity College, City hall and the famous Temple Bar.Guided city toursWhat better way to discover the beautiful sites and history of the city, than to go on a guided walking tour. Guided tours can include culture, arts, architecture or if this is not your thing you can even follow a pub trail sampling the delights of Irish beverages along the route.Spend an evening in Temple BarReally get into the swing of the St Patrick’s festivities and spend an evening in one of the most famous areas in Dublin, Temple Bar. Known for its busy and lively atmosphere, the venueson offerwill give you a true taste of Irish hospitality including live music and lots of dancing.The HolidayIf you fancy taking a trip to Dublin, to experience this great city and all it has to offer, take a look at our fantastic offers here.

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.

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


Police say missing Glasgow woman may have headed east

February 11 2014

A vulnerable woman who went missing from her Glasgow home may be in Dundee, St Andrews or Stirling. Sarah Fletcher was last seen by relatives around 8.40am on Sunday when she left her home on Dumbarton Road in Partick. According to her family, the 26-year-old had been “dealing with some personal issues” but her disappearance was “out of character.” It is thought Ms Fletcher may have travelled to Stirling on Sunday afternoon but she also has connections in St Andrews and Dundee. Ms Fletcher is described as around 5ft, of very slim build with long, brown, waist-length hair. She has a tattoo of a musical note behind her right ear. She was last seen wearing a green top, a tan waist-length jacket, brown leggings and brown or grey boots. Ms Fletcher wears glasses and has a silver heart necklace and a watch with a black strap. It is possible that she is carrying a black and grey Osprey rucksack. Police Scotland inspector Matthew Webb said: “It’s out of character for Sarah not to have been in touch with her family or friends and she has never gone missing before. “We just want to know she is safe and well.”


MSP calls for more support for Dundee’s smartphone gaming industry

August 5 2011

Dundee's gaming industry must be given support to capitalise on the boom in smartphone use. New research published by communications regulator Ofcom has revealed more than one-quarter of adults in the UK (27%) and almost half of all teenagers (47%) now own a smartphone, such as an iPhone, Blackberry or Android device. As well as making calls, the phones can also be used to browse the internet and play games. Ofcom's research found that nearly half of all adult users (47%) have downloaded an app while 15% have paid for a game. Tech-savvy teenagers are even more likely to have paid for a downloaded game, with nearly one-third (32%) having paid for at least one. Dundee developers selling apps and games for smartphones are already cashing in on the growing demand. Dundee developer Tag Games has developed iPhone games based on Doctor Who and the recent Coen Brothers movie True Grit. Production manager Mark Williamson said, "It's quite clear that pretty much every device that people use now for their telephones has some kind of connectivity and the ability to play games and apps, so it is a growing market." Mr Williamson said that Tag has developed games for a range of platforms and this expertise will be vital as the smartphone market continues to expand. However, Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick said more government support is needed to support the games industry in the city. He said, "With more people using smartphones than ever, Dundee's digital media industry has a real opportunity to tap into this expanding market. "Typically, the investment required to create mobile-based media is significantly lower than for multi-platform console games, which allows ambitious entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in this industry. "However, these small businesses require support from the UK Government to expand and thrive in a competitive international market. "That is why I continue to press the UK Government to introduce a targeted games tax relief like that found in Canada and perhaps soon Ireland too. "This kind of relief already exists for the film industry and it is only right that games developers in Dundee are able to compete on a level playing field with their international competitors who enjoy significant government support."


Appeal for missing Kelty man

August 17 2016

Police in Fife are appealing for help in tracing  a missing man from Kelty. Patrick Collins, 63, was last seen leaving an address in the Saline area at around 11:30am on Tuesday, August 16. Since then he has not been in contact with friends or family and police are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare. It is believed that he is driving a burnt orange coloured Suzuki SX4 with black roof rails and the registration SX57 DFC. Anyone who has seen this vehicle is asked to come forward immediately. Mr Collins is described as 5ft 9ins tall, medium build, blue eyes, a short grey goatee beard with brown/greying collar length hair. At the time he was last seen he was wearing dirty blue jeans, an old blue denim jacket, dark coloured t-shirt, glasses and a black woollen hat with a small peak. He also has a missing front tooth and a distinctive tattoo on his left hand that reads "TRIBE" and a cross design on his left forearm. Mr Collins has numerous family members in Fife but is known to visit the areas of Cleish, Glencoe and Invergarry. Sergeant Tony Rogers said: “It is out of character for Patrick to leave without telling anyone and we are extremely concerned for his welfare. “A search is now underway to trace him as quickly as possible and I today urge anyone who has seen him or the Suzuki SX4 we believe he is travelling in to contact police. “I also appeal directly to Patrick to contact either police or a family member to let us know you are safe.” Anyone who has information on Patrick’s whereabouts is asked to contact police on 101 or speak to any officer.    

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.

Readers' letters

February 11: Land-value tax would ease housing shortage

February 11 2011

This morning's letters to The Courier discuss land values, taxis in Dundee, events in Egypt, Labour and Lockerbie, and a disappointing trip to Arbroath. Land-value tax would ease housing shortage Sir,-What your correspondent Mr Ron Greer has written about the significance of the location value of housing land in St Andrews (February 8) is seemingly well founded. A director of an estate agency in my area has stated that while an ordinary 1970s modern detached house in the town would fetch £325,000, a similar property adjacent to the golf course could achieve close to a £1 million value. Interestingly, St Andrews figured in A Fairer Way: Report by the Local Government Finance Review Committee, published by the LGFRC, under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Burt (Edinburgh, November 2006). One piece of evidence given to the inquiry noted an extreme shortage of affordable housing in St Andrews, blamed on the council-tax exemption for properties occupied solely by students. "This exemption in practice benefits landlords ... rather than students themselves" (sub-section 14.25). This is a fine example of subsidies and tax breaks ending up appropriated by landholders. Mr Greer advocates collection of an annual land rent charge to replace existing taxes including council tax. The case is sound, on ethical, fiscal, and wider economic grounds. All that is missing is the will to proceed to its implementation. David K. Mills.54, Woodway,Hutton,Brentwood. No need for taxi number cap Sir,-I was bemused by the dismissive comments from Joe FitzPatrick MSP (February 9), who said that an Edinburgh cabbie who contacted The Courier regarding the possible effects of a cap on taxi numbers in Dundee "will be reflecting his experiences" in the capital and should thus contact his local MSP to "pass on his views". However, it was Mr FitzPatrick, who, a couple of days earlier, was citing evidence from Perth and Edinburgh in support of the principle of capping numbers, so his latest stance is puzzling to say the least. And perhaps he could explain his claim that a cap on numbers would "improve professionalism" in the trade because all the evidence suggests that such matters are purely down to direct regulation rather than numerical controls. For example, isn't it the case that vehicle standards in Dundee are significantly better than when numbers were restricted a decade or so ago? It is not that removing the numbers cap had anything to do with that. More relevant perhaps were quality-control measures implemented by the council, not to mention more competition in the sector. Whatever the other arguments about capping taxi numbers, "improving professionalism" is surely a red herring. Stuart Winton.Hilltown,Dundee. We must accept Arab democracy Sir,-George McMillan's latest attack on those reporting the momentous events in Egypt is disgraceful, likewise is his support for the regime of Hosni Mubarak. The reporting of events has been fair and balanced from Al Jazeera to the BBC. He complained that news reports featured only those that demanded the resignation of Mubarak. It would have been difficult indeed to find anyone among the hundreds of thousands on the streets of Cairo otherwise minded. Mr McMillan considers himself well read, nevertheless he has some hesitation in expressing an opinion regarding events in Egypt. Why the reticence? He is never at a loss to pontificate on a variety of subjects. It is mischievous of him to describe the anti-Mubarak demonstrations as a riot. The only hint of trouble was when pro-Mubarak "supporters" tried to attack the demonstrators, otherwise the demonstrations were conducted with impressive dignity. I have been to Egypt several times and seen the poverty and I marvel at the patience of Egyptians, who have put up with Mubarak for so long. For decades the West has supported despots like Mubarak as Mr McMillan points out, as a bulwark against any united Arab opposition to Israel. This cosy arrangement is now under threat. If democracy means anything, it is the right of people to decide their own government, Islamic or secular, without interference by the West. James Smith.4 Brownhill Place,Dundee. Hypocrisy over Lockerbie Sir,-Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, concluded that Gordon Brown's Labour administration assisted the Libyan regime in securing the release of the Lockerbie bomber. I think we should be informed if Iain Gray or any other Labour MSP was consulted on the matter. Was there any collusion between the Labour Government and Labour MSPs? The Labour Party, in public, was emphatically against the release of the Lockerbie bomber but we now know they were doing the opposite in private. Hypocrisy is pretending to be what one is not. Donald J. MacLeod.49 Woodcroft AvenueBridge of Don. Museum disappointment Sir,-After reading your interesting article on the Bell Rock Lighthouse last week, we decided to pay a visit to Arbroath and the Signal Tower Museum, which houses a replica of the lighthouse. On arrival at Arbroath, we were most disappointed to find the museum closed, with no indication of an opening date. We understand that a refurbishment programme has been ongoing since 2010 and feel that greater effort should have been made to have this completed before the celebrations. (Mrs) A. M. Jackson.Craigard,Benvie Road,Fowlis. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.