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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...

Readers' letters

April 20: Will MacAskill show compassion to Tobin?

April 20 2010

On the agenda today: Pete Tobin, biomass plans, praise for the McManus Galleries, the TV leaders' debates and young voters. Will MacAskill show compassion to Tobin? Sir,-Your report (April 16) about killer Peter Tobin's health raises the question that if this individual (branded inhuman, evil and unfit to live in a decent society by three trial judges) proves to be terminally ill, will the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, authorise his release on humanitarian grounds as he did with Megrahi? The public is entitled to know. R. H. L. Mulheron.28 Cowgate,Tayport. Talk through biomass plans Sir,-Having read last week's informative and detailed article by J. J. Marshall (April 14) about the latest controversial plans for "environmentally friendly biomass plant structures", it was no surprise that a reader (April 17) made an attempt to dispute J. J. Marshall's argument. I agree that unemployment is a concern, not only around Dundee but in all areas of the country, however, a biomass plant should be properly discussed as opposed to being imposed upon local citizens. Harry Lawrie.35 Abbots Mill,Kirkcaldy. Take action on smoking Sir,-I spent a marvellous afternoon on Friday at Dundee's refurbished McManus Galleries. Many others had the same idea the place was crowded, which added to the enjoyment of sharing a collective experience. Dundee City Council are to be congratulated on maximising their collection and providing audio-visual aids to help interpret the significance of its artefacts. This is an example of a local authority not just with foresight but with a commitment to preserve the city's cultural and industrial past. The only downside was the uncomfortable experience of cigarette smoking drifting into the foyer and cafe area. The doors to the galleries are wide and there is a low wall outside, a natural place for smokers to relax. I am sure smokers believe they are far enough away from the building not to cause discomfort but perhaps a sign requesting smokers to congregate off the precincts might be a workable solution. Bob Ferguson.North Muirton,Perth. TV debate irrelevant Sir,-The irrelevance of Scotland in the run-up to the General Election is becoming obvious. The television debates must be embarrassing for Scots who sit and watch the point scoring by the three Unionist leaders with their manifestos aimed at the English electorate. I find it strange that the three English parties have stolen many of the ideas that the present Scottish Parliament have already put in place for those of us who live in Scotland. Let's see how irrelevant we become again after this English election when Scotland's "green revolution" takes off and the spoils disappear back into the Westminster coffers like North Sea oil did. Bob Harper.63a Pittenweem Road,Anstruther. Reflect voter disaffection Sir,-Watching the first election debate made me both shiver and grimace in equal measure and reminded me of the saying, "whoever controls the media controls the world". Politicians from earlier times were willing and able to cope with applause, heckling and awkward questions. Therefore, the most worrying feature of the programme was the subservient response to the ruling that there be no clapping nor interjection with the masses, on this occasion the audience. It should be everyone's duty to vote, but, as a person who has always voted in the past, I am increasingly tempted by the idea of not voting for anyone, for the very simple reason that by voting, I might be seen to be encouraging them. Therefore, if I were to be granted a wish at the moment, it would be to be given the opportunity on the ballot form, to tick a box which stated 'none of the above'. That option sadly will no doubt have to remain but a dream, as its introduction would reveal the total disaffection of the electorate for what is now on offer. Neil McKinnon.Tulchan Garden,Glenalmond,Perth. Keep young out of politics Sir,-Bob Taylor expressed his wish to involve more young people in politics. That is in line with the thinking from many commentators and most parties. I never was one for fleeting fads and gimmicks, so I would suggest this is, and always has been, a daft idea. If we look at the mess Britain is in, there is one factor underlying every mistake made by successive governments too many important decisions were made by politicians who were too young to have gained experience on which they could base crucial judgments. That is because we allow people to present themselves as candidates before they have gained even the most basic experience in things such as doing a real job, or bringing up a family in the real world. Therefore, let us put an end to young people making life-or-death decisions which affect us all. Let us introduce a minimum age, say 40, for candidates in all elections. That should give them time to understand how the real world works. And, while we're at it, those advocates of lowering the voting age should be resisted. Our education system has now failed to such an extent that a quarter of that age are leaving school without basic skills in reading, writing and adding up. What hopes for them being able to decide on who can run the country? We need to raise the voting age. Jim Parker.9 Banchory Green, Collydean,Glenrothes.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Dundee

McAvoy family call for ‘simple’ heart disease test

April 18 2015

The father of a former Arbroath SC footballer who died last year has called for a nationwide strategy to prevent more tragic cardiac-related deaths. Pete McAvoy died suddenly in his college room in the United States aged 22. The talented defender, who played for Herkimer Generals, is believed to have suffered a heart attack as a result of an undiagnosed heart condition. Every year 600 young people die as a result of undiagnosed cardiac conditions. Now his father Peter has backed a manifesto produced by Cardiac Risk in the Young, calling for free screening to identify heart conditions and improve research. Peter, 57, from Dundee, said: “Twelve young people are dying across the UK every week. “If they had a simple heart test they would have been diagnosed, could have had treatment and would still be alive today. “That is unbelievable and it is a nightmare for those of us who have gone through it.” Pete’s family want to see the lifesaving tests rolled out across the country through the NHS. Peter added: “The genetic condition that killed my son is something that could have been diagnosed.”

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Angus & The Mearns

Former provost’s anger as horror movie ‘influenced’ by horrific Angus head-on-beach murder ‘re-emerges’

December 2 2017

A former Angus provost has launched a stinging attack on the makers of a horror film said to be “influenced” by the brutal murder of a Brechin woman. Speaking after Graders “re-emerged” and went “on demand” in America, Ruth Leslie-Melville said it was disappointing that Jolanta Bledaite’s horrific slaying in 2008 was still being used “as a money spinner”. David Hutchison’s Graders was originally released to criticism from the Angus community in 2012 and tells the story of a woman’s search for her sister who has gone missing while working in a fish factory in the Scottish Highlands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6MAGxKQ_Qw The movie has re-emerged and is now available on Vimeo On Demand where users can rent or buy movies and it will shortly be available again on Amazon. Mrs Leslie-Melville said: “What a very sad reflection on human nature that this director should want to resurrect this shameful story. “It is vile that the tragedy of Jolanta should be turned into a spectacle to be ogled by sick people. “The callousness of trying to make money out of the tragic death of that blameless lassie, Jolanta, horrifies me. “Jolanta did not deserve to be tortured and mutilated. “It was a tragedy for the lassie’s grandmother and appalling for the Brechin community. “I am incredibly disappointed to learn that Jolanta’s appalling death should be used as a money spinner by someone who, in my opinion, is a heartless and greedy sensationalist.” Mr Hutchison previously told how he recalled the murders of Jolanta Bledaite and serial killer Peter Tobin’s Polish victim Angelika Kluk while writing the screenplay. Jolanta’s head and hands were found on the seafront at Arbroath in 2008, days after the farm worker had been suffocated and dismembered by fellow Lithuanians Vitas Plytnykas and Aleksandras Skirda in her Brechin flat. Miss Kluk, 23, a student from Skoczow near Krakow, was murdered and buried under the floorboards of a Catholic chapel in 2006 by serial killer Peter Tobin. She was living at St Patrick’s church in central Glasgow and knew her killer as Pat McLaughlin, a genial handyman who helped out around the church. Tobin was arrested in London under a fake name after Strathclyde police made a public appeal. Scenes for Graders were shot in Lochinver, Kinlochbervie, Buckie and Edinburgh. The cast features Slumdog Millionaire star Janet de Vigne, and the micro-budget film’s writer and director, David Hutchison, graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. Responding to Mrs Leslie-Melville’s criticism, Mr Hutchison told The Courier: “Graders is a work of fiction. “Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. “Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental." He added that the film "has moved to a new distributor”.

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch timepiece sells out in three days

December 21 2013

A commerorative Black Watch timepiece created to help raise funds for veterans has sold out in just three days after being featured in The Courier. The limited-edition piece was created by master watchmaker Robin Devine and features the historic regiment’s badge and tartan. It honours squaddies from what is now known as the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS). Robin, of Toronto-based Time is Ticking, said the entire stock was snapped up by former Black Watch soldiers from around the globe. To keep up with demand Robin has been working until 4am packaging and posting all 70 of the timepieces herself. Robin attributed demand to an article which featured in The Courier last month. She said: “The watches only sold because of The Courier article that is an absolute fact. “People sent out the article all over the world. People were calling Toronto all day from the time the article came out until the watches had been sold.” Robin said many buyers told her of their memories of serving in the regiment, which dates from 1739. “The people in Scotland had such wonderful stories to tell about how much the watch meant to them,” said Robin. “There were some elderly veterans who had never used a credit card and for them to call Toronto to a far off country and to someone they didn’t know really tells you how important the watch was to them. “I feel like the watch is helping to keep the history of the regiments alive in a way that can be publically displayed.” Robin hopes to have a similar success with a watch celebrating the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which traditionally recruits from Stirlingshire. Profits from the watch, which is available through the regimental museum or through the Time is Ticking website, will go to veterans.

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

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