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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Hero delivery driver who saved residents from Arbroath blaze prepares for charity trek

April 14 2014

The heroic endeavours of a life-saving delivery driver are set to continue in Angus with his preparations for a mammoth charity fundraiser. Brian Provan became a household name for Courier readers after we revealed how he pulled a number of residents from araging flat fire in Arbroath. The Perth dad of one was on his delivery rounds for Parcelforce when he saw smoke billowing out the window of a ground-floor flat in Dishlandtown Street. He switched into “auto-pilot mode” and valiantly rescued the occupants of the block from the drama before fire crews arrived and extinguished the blaze. He is now set to make a return to the town on Friday when he and a trio of colleagues from the Parcelforce depot will walk from their HQ in Perth to the Angus town in a warm-up for a massive fundraising event to raise money to beat prostate cancer. The men expect to complete the 40-mile walk from Perth to Arbroath in just under 16 hours, leaving Perth at midnight and arriving at Arbroath at around 4pm on Friday. The group have been kitted out in walking gear by sponsors KG Technical Services and are taking on the challenge in practice for the Brecon Beacon challenge in Wales in June. Brian said: “We’re all looking forward to the trip and we’re going to be raising the money to fight prostate cancer. “Arbroath company KG Technicals are backing us. They donated to us last year for the Three Peak Challenge by giving us a fair bit of money and they are supporting us to do this walk this year. “We went to Cardiff recently for a training session ahead of the Beacon challenge and for us going down there for just a three-hour course was a bit of an eye opener. “It’s not just a walk in the park. It’s going to be up and down mountains and the area is also used by the SAS as their training ground so it’s going to be a big ask. “We’re all kitted out and the walk from Perth to Arbroath will be a big thing for us.” To sponsor Brian and his colleagues, head to www.sponsorme.co.uk/kevinsmith/trekfest2014.aspx

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


Sponsored article: Happy Days ARGON

September 26 2012

How Argon Gas is winning the war against heating bills. We've come a long way from putting a sausage dog made from Mum's old tights across the porch door, not that we are suggesting you should ever stop with the old draft excluder. But there is some much more you can do these days. With heating bills going through the roof the trick is to keep the heat in your house - it's also a great way of using less fuel. Companies like Safestyle UK are pioneering new techniques in energy efficiency not just for the next generation of new house but also to completely change the feel of our older ones too. You don't tend to think of the "double glazing man" having much to do with chemistry and physics but you'd be wrong. The days of windows being simply a sheet of glass in a wooden frame are long gone and seem positively archaic these days. Making the move from single glazing to double glazing can be as profound as when you had central heating fitted for the first time - anyone old enough will never forget the difference that made. Before double glazing people would have cowered at the thought of a duvet... only fifteen tightly tucked blankets, flannelette sheets and a pair of bed socks where the basic requirements for a good night's sleep...and let's not forget the trust hot water bottle which was there to keep you warm rather than to help with stomach cramps. So where does the chemistry come in to double glazing? Well, none of it would be possible without the float glass technique developed by the Pilkington company which allowed us to produce large sheets of toughened glass to a near perfect thickness. Then there's the clever nano coatings that are added these days to reduce the amount of heat transferred from the surface of the glass to the outside world. There is also the double pane of glass that we can thank the Romans for. They originally discovered that their heating bills were going too high in the UK - a bath house needed a lots of wood to keep it warm and they decided to put in two panes of glass rather than one. It certainly worked but this was not the double glazing we know today. The things that makes double glazing so effective is a little known gas called Argon. It's shame it's so unknown but until the modern double glazing industry came along it didn't really have much to shout about. It doesn't react with anything. It doesn't smell of anything and it doesn't really do anything. Believe it or not we actually have nearly 25 times more Argon in our atmosphere than Carbon Dioxide... so it's probably just as well it doesn't do anything. Chemistry loving named it the "lazy gas" because of its inert nature and it is these very properties that make it perfect for energy efficient double glazing. Argon is rubbish at transferring heat and this is why it is carefully sealed into double glazing units in state of the art manufacturing facilities. And you thought a window was just a window not anymore! Argon is also a very dry gas and this massively helps with lowering the amount of heat lost through a window. You can walk out on a freezing cold day, the lowest temperature recorded in the area was around minus 18 but this is usually a dry cold and so doesn't feel as bad as when it's a couple of degrees about zero and raining that feels so grim because the damp air just sucks the heat straight out of your skin. If you ever see a double glazing unit with condensation in between the sheets of glass then this means all of the dry Argon gas has leaked out and been replaced with normal, damp air. In other words the unit has failed and doesn't work anymore. So when it comes to winning the war against rising gas bills the silent, unsung hero is Argon gas which is so effective at keeping in the heat that they are beginning to develop arctic survival jackets that contain pockets of it.

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.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath fire hero delivery driver Brian Provan enjoys ‘magic’ warm-up for charity trek

April 19 2014

A life-saving delivery driver and his colleagues have begun preparations for their 24-hour charity fundraiser. Brian Provan became a household name with Courier readers after he helped save a number of residents from a raging flat fire in Arbroath. The Perth father of one was on his delivery rounds for Parcelforce when he saw smoke billowing out the window of a ground-floor flat on Dishlandtown Street. He switched into “autopilot mode” and rescued the occupants of the block from the drama before fire crews arrived and extinguished the blaze. Yesterday, Mr Provan and a trio of colleagues from his depot walked from their Perth HQ into the Angus town as a warm-up for an event to help beat prostate cancer. The group have been kitted out in top-end walking gear by sponsors KG Technical Services and intend to undertake the Brecon Beacons 54-mile challenge in Wales in June. As practice, the men left Perth at about 1am yesterday and arrived in Arbroath at about 3pm, covering just over 41 miles in 14 hours. Mr Provan said: “It’s been absolutely superb and we had a bright full moon to light the way at night. We made it from Perth to Dundee in about six hours and to see the sun come up as we were coming in to the city was magic. “I met up with a couple of colleagues along the way, having promised them a bacon roll and some juice if they joined in. “We nipped into a mate’s on Kingsway for a change of socks, because you really have to, and we were off again.” Visit www.sponsorme.co.uk/kevinsmith/trekfest2014.aspx to sponsor the men for their June challenge.


Half of Turner Prize-winning artist’s new exhibition opens at DCA

March 4 2017

A new exhibition of work by Turner Prize-winning Mark Wallinger has opened simultaneously at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. MARK WALLINGER MARK is split into two parts and will be shown in both venues until Sunday 4 June. It is the first exhibition in Scotland by the artist and features Wallinger’s most recent body of work: the id Paintings (2015-16). These are presented alongside a series of sculptures, films and wall-based works which further explore the themes of identity, reflection and perception addressed in his new work. In the Dundee half of the exhibition, 12 of Wallinger’s id Paintings surround a new work, Self (Symbol) (2017), a capitalized ‘I’ aggrandized as a three dimensional statue the height of the artist. The id Paintings have grown out of Wallinger’s extensive series of self-portraits, and they reference the artist’s own body. His height – and therefore his arm span – is the basis of the canvas size. They are exactly this measurement in width and double in height. Wallinger described the paintings as the basis of both the Dundee and Edinburgh exhibitions. "There are different works in the two spaces, but these are the starting point, or spine if you like," he said. "There is quite a lot of work around the idea of identity and my presence." Video pieces are also included in the DCA gallery, including Shadow Walker in which the artist filmed his shadow walking ahead of him. In MARK, a 2010 creation, Wallinger chalked the title all over the city of London within the parameters of single standard-sized brick. This deadpan tagging is rendered as a photographic slideshow, made up of 2,265 images. A mirrored TARDIS is also on display in the exhibition. Wallinger said the development of Dundee had been notable in the time since he first visited the city to prepare for the gallery. "I came up here about a year ago to look around and think about how this show might be hung. "There has been so much work, lots of work, on the V&A since then. It looks amazing already - I quite like it as it is." Beth Bate, director of DCA, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming Mark Wallinger to our galleries and to be working alongside The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in this compelling exhibition of two parts. "Mark's first show in Scotland features his new body of work, the enigmatic id Paintings. "We can’t wait to welcome audiences to this exciting exhibition." MARK WALLINGER MARK is a collaboration between Serlachius Museums, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the DCA.


Sponsored article: Scotland To London railway guide

October 1 2012

The journey from Scotland to London can be an incredibly beautiful journey and gives you plenty of time to sit back, relax and watch the idyllic scenery glide past the window. With a variety of affordable train tickets online for those looking to experience the journey, it has never been easier to get from Scotland to London on the railways. For overnight journeys, sleeper trains are simple to book and provide the traveller with all the necessary luxuries to ensure a good night's sleep. For such trains, it is always important to remember to book early to avoid disappointment,The journeyMost journeys from London to Scotland will take in the idyllic and historical walled city of York, the cultural hotspot of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and finally the two most prominent cities north of the border: Glasgow and Edinburgh. The historic city of York has a wealth of cultural attractions to visit, including York Minster, the beautiful and incredibly intricate cathedral, and the fabulous Theatre Royal, which often puts on some of the most critically acclaimed plays in the country. Newcastle, apart from being home to the world famous Newcastle F.C. and Newcastle Brown Ale, regularly hosts some of the most lively and interesting festivals in the country. Edinburgh boasts some of the most fascinating and beautiful architecture of any city in the world. The city is watched over by the imposing Edinburgh Castle, a beautiful fortress that sits atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Housing the Honours Of Scotland, the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland, the castle is a fantastic attraction and a must see for any visitors. It's important to remember that the best way to find affordable East Coast rail fares is to book in advance where you'll find the best deals for reaching Scotland by train. Finally, Glasgow is one of the most vibrant cities in the UK, boasting a number of fascinating nightlife and cultural scenes that have made it one of the most interesting places to visit anywhere in Scotland. Following its growth, which was kick-started by its strong industrial activity during the Industrial Revolution, Glasgow has gone on to become a prominent financial centre and the 57th 'most livable' city in the world. Glasgow is a brilliant destination in which to end your trip and will top off your train journey fantastically.Booking your ticketsFinally, remember that using the internet to check ticket prices can be an excellent way of avoiding large train fares and will guarantee that you get the seat you want, when you want it, without any hassle. All that's left to do is relax and enjoy your stunning adventure on some of the most impressive railways in the country. A trip from London to Scotland will be one that you remember for years to come and journeying by train will ensure you make the most of each and every second. Visit eastcoast.co.uk to find out more.

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.