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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...

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

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

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.

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

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

Motoring news

High-tech lightweight new Q5

October 5 2016

Since its launch back in 2009 the Q5 has become Audi’s most popular SUV, with more than a million sold. Now an all-new second generation model has been revealed at the Paris Motor Show and will go on sale in the UK early next year. The new car is approximately 90kg lighter than the model it replaces, but is also bigger inside and out. The new car also gets Audi’s fantastic Virtual Cockpit display in place of more conventional dials. Five engine options will be available at launch – a petrol and four diesels. The petrol has 248bhp and four-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre diesel can be had with 148, 161 or 187bhp and two or four-wheel drive. Higher up the range is a 3.0 litre V6 diesel with 282bhp. An SQ5 with 340bhp and an RS Q5 with more than 500bhp will join the range later on. The updated Q5 takes design inspiration from the Q3 and Q7, with a large, angular, chrome grille at the front flanked by LED headlights. It’s not a radical redesign. The car’s overall silhouette is the same, but has stronger shoulder lines, larger wheel arches and a lower roofline. As standard, the Q5 will ride on 17in alloy wheels, although wheels as big as 21in will be available as optional extras. On the gadgetry side of things, the Q5 has an in-car wifi hotspot system that gives you permanent web access on the go, supported by a sim card charged at a flat rate for data, and free for the first three years. An optional tablet can be fitted to act as a rear entertainment screen, and massage seats are offered for the first time. The sat-nav system now has a ‘Personal Route Assistance’ that learns your most regularly driven routes, tally that information with where you park it in the evening, and pre-programme the sat-nav to the destination it thinks you’re most likely to want next. The new Q5 will be built at an all-new factory in Mexico, with first deliveries in January 2017, and the base starting price in Germany for the 2.0-litre TDI is the equivalent of £38,000 – although final UK spec and prices will be announced closer to the launch.

Fife

Jubilant Fife mum urges more to fight ‘bedroom tax’

December 20 2013

A jubilant Fife mother and her disabled son have become the latest family to win their appeal against the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ and she says their victory shows people should not be scared of the legal process. An independent solicitor took moments to decide that Judith Aitken, 57, should pay a nominal spare room subsidy fee negated by a discretionary housing payment towards a storage room used to house medical supplies for her son, Stephen, 24, who has cerebral palsy. If unsuccessful then the family would have lost £80 a month because of the room at their home in the Collydean area of Glenrothes, which Mrs Aitken says is essential if she is to provide any level of care for her son. However, following Thursday’s tribunal at Pathhead Parish Church in Kirkcaldy, the pair will not lose a penny in benefit payments. Calling on more people to appeal against the legislation, Mrs Aitken told The Courier: “It is a scary thought, especially when you’re not used to legal proceedings, but the public have to know that this is wrong. It is wrong for us, as a family with a disabled son. “If people can afford to pay for their own house then they would automatically have the number of rooms they need. “We did get the housing discretionary payment but that was only temporary up until March and there was no guarantee it would go beyond that. We couldn’t ignore this.” Judith has been Stephen’s sole carer since her husband passed away 11 years ago. They live in what is termed a four-bedroom home, with one room stacked with supplies essential for Stephen’s care. “Stephen needs total care,” Mrs Aitken continued. He has a bag on his back, which is a feeding machine that is attached to him for 20 hours a day. “In the morning he has to have his feeding machine detached and I set up his fresh feed for the day. “He needs total care; changed, taking him out, medication four times a day. We have a room literally full of boxes of feed, water, medicines the room is full.” Mrs Aitken was initially informed that her housing benefit would be affected when a representative from her housing association visited to explain that they would be charged for two rooms. She continued: “We spoke to the housing manager about downsizing but we couldn’t fit into a two-bedroom because of these medical supplies. The minimum is a three-bedroom house but there are none nearby. “They adapted our house for Stephen so even if they found a property, they would have to adapt that.” Outside the church a small group of campaigners opposed to the “bedroom tax” had gathered to voice their continued concerns over the UK Government’s welfare reform, officially termed as ending the ‘spare room subsidy’. Spokesman Louise McLeary said: “It is very important that people know they can win these appeals. I’m not sure that many people know that they can appeal and that is worrying.”

UK & World

Social workers involved in St Helena child abuse inquiry take legal action

March 23 2018

Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.

Perth & Kinross

VIDEO: Mackie’s say strawberry-flavoured crisps could hit UK shelves

June 14 2017

The Tayside producers of an unusual snack made for the Chinese market have not ruled out it hitting the shelves of UK shops. The first batch of Mackie's of Scotland's new strawberry-flavoured crisps will soon be on the way to Shanghai after samples proved a huge hit at the SIAL China Trade Show in the city last month. And yesterday residents of Scotland's soft fruit capital, Blairgowrie, had their say on the unique delicacy after The Courier got a hold of an exclusive bag of some strawberry samples. The fruit-flavoured crisps were launched alongside a salted caramel blend specifically for the Chinese market. They should be on sale in the country by the end of July after proving a "massive success" at the Shanghai show. Initially the premise started out as an April Fool's Day joke by staff at the Mackie's at Taypack factory in Errol. However the idea was quickly developed as the company noted the "sweet tooth" of the Chinese market. Commercial director at Mackie's of Scotland, James Taylor, said the firm had not ruled out giving the strawberry and salted caramel crisps a go in the UK as well. Mr Taylor added: "Strawberry and salted caramel were what was shortlisted after trying a wide range of different flavours from banana and chilli to banana and honey. "It is just something completely unusual for the UK market but out in China it just seemed to be something that worked. You name it they have pretty much got it in any kind of sweet flavour. "It's something completely different to us, something new to us, and something we wouldn’t ever have necessarily wanted to launch as a first-off in the UK. "The product is developed and ready to go. We’ve had small local cafes and delis  (in the UK) all quite interested in it, to some of our larger retail customers saying they wouldn’t put it past ever putting it on their shelves. "Who knows, we’ll have to test the water in China and if it does prove to be really successful maybe adapt it and see if we can do a limited edition or special buys in this country just to give the consumer here the chance to pick them up.” Blairgowrie technical writer, Andy Meeson, said he could get "seriously addicted" to the strawberry crisps. He added: "That is unusual because you do get the strawberry flooding out, it starts off tasting very much of strawberry and then it starts to taste of crisp." Chloe Gruneber-Mackenzie, a student from the Angus town, said they were "unusual but kind of nice", adding: "It tastes like strawberry ice cream but in a crisp. I think I would buy that actually." Retired Perth software engineer, Rob Burke, 65, said: "I think they are nice. I don't know I’d eat them every day but they’re not bad. It does actual taste like strawberry."

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