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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...

Other sports

Knockhill tribute to triple British Superbike Championship winner Steve Hislop

June 6 2013

A unique tribute to one of Scotland’s most revered motorbike riders will take place at the Knockhill circuit in Fife in just over a week’s time. Round four of the hotly-contested British Superbike Championship will take place at Knockhill on the weekend of June 14 to 16, but the hosts have also decided to use the occasion mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of Steve Hislop, an 11-time TT winner and triple British champion. The Hawick star, who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2003, always received a warm welcome on home turf and managed a couple of victories at the Fife circuit, prompting organisers of next week’s racing to christen the event the Steve Hislop Knockhill Round of the championships. Hislop’s achievements are to be honoured by two other Scots, Niall Mackenzie and Stuart Easton, who will be central to the celebrations in a special lap on race day. Mackenzie had Hislop as his team-mate and title rival during the 1998 season, the year in which he completed a hat-trick of British Superbike championships, and he will be taking to the track aboard one of the Yamahas they raced back then as Hislop took third place in the overall rankings. Team-mate to him at the time, Easton will be riding a replica of the 2002 season Ducati which took Hislop to eight victories and his second crown after the first one back in 1995 had also been achieved riding a Ducati. James Whitham, another team-mate of Mackenzie in that title-winning era as well as one of Hizzy’s great friends and rivals, and who is now a television commentator, will also take to the track on a Yamaha. The three bikes, together with the actual championship-winning Ducati, owned and kindly loaned by Hislop’s former team boss Paul Bird, will be displayed, while courtesy of the Hizzy Museum there will be a selection of leathers, helmets, photos and other memorabilia on show in the tribute room. On track, the riders battling for victories in the British Superbike Championship races will also be chasing an additional piece of silverware as “The Flying Haggis” Trophy, inaugurated in 2004 by Hislop’s mother Margaret, will be presented to the rider setting the fastest lap out of the two races.

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

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

Perth & Kinross

No Holyrood committee recall for Fiona Hyslop over T in the Park cash

October 6 2015

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop will not be recalled before MSPs to face more questions on the £150,000 of public money handed to T in the Park. Holyrood's Education and Culture Committee said it would follow up in writing on Ms Hyslop's evidence last week on the funding decision and allegations of cronyism. Opposition MSPs had called for the Culture Secretary to be brought back before them, claiming she had failed to provide satisfactory answers to their questions. The decision was taken as it emerged that festival promoter DF Concerts recorded a pre-tax profit of £6.2 million last year. Committee convener and SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell said: "After a discussion at today's committee meeting, the committee unanimously agreed to follow its normal practice and follow up the evidence session with the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs in writing. "This letter will be issued today and we will await the Cabinet Secretary's response." The Culture Secretary had been asked to explain the circumstances in which the state aid was awarded after it emerged former SNP adviser Jennifer Dempsie set up meetings between DF Concerts and ministers including Ms Hyslop ahead of the application for the funding. Ms Dempsie was working on a contract for DF Concerts as a project manager on the festival, which moved to a new location at Strathallan this year. Ms Hyslop told the committee that organisers had warned they could move out of Scotland unless they could address the "severely reduced revenues" associated with its relocation. She insisted she had acted properly and the funding from the major events budget had been approved "following a detailed consideration of options" for operational costs associated with the transition to the festival's new site. Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur said: "At committee last week the culture secretary told us in no uncertain terms that the state aid deal brokered by Alex Salmond's former special adviser was agreed on the basis that there was a real risk of shareholders forcing T in the Park to leave Scotland. "These company accounts call into question the extent of any such risk. "We now know that SNP ministers, on the urging of a former SNP adviser, awarded £150,000 of taxpayer funding to a company which had generated record pre-tax profits the previous year. "I am pleased that the culture committee will now write to the Culture Secretary seeking detailed answers to the serious questions that have been raised. We need to get to the bottom of this urgently." Scottish Conservative culture spokeswoman Liz Smith said: "The Scottish Government still have a lot of explaining to do surrounding the criteria by which £150,000 of taxpayers' money was given to a successful and profit-making company. "This is exactly the reason why Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop must be forced to explain to Parliament the factors and case for such a significant grant to be provided."

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

Kirriemuir “pest” bombarded his former partner with more than 20 phonecalls

March 3 2017

A Kirriemuir “pest” who bombarded a former partner with more than 20 phonecalls in the early hours of the morning made a public apology when he appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court. Gavin Hislop, 26, of Douglas Street, admitted that on February 5 he behaved in manner likely to cause fear or alarm by repeatedly telephoning his ex-partner and refused to stop when asked to do so. He demanded to know if she had someone within her home and arrived at her property uninvited, repeatedly knocked at the door and shouted and swore at the woman. Depute fiscal Nicola Gillespie said the relationship with Hislop’s former partner ended in October last year though they maintained contact through texts and phonecalls. “The accused had asked if they could rekindle the relationship but she didn’t want that and had since started a new relationship,” she said. “On the date in question she was watching a film with her new partner at 1.30am when she received a call from the accused. She ignored it but he called again three minutes later and she decided to answer it. “The accused asked if she had anyone in the property. She said no and terminated the call. Shortly afterwards the landline began to ring. She ignored it. “She received a further five phonecalls to the landline and 13 calls to her mobile from a withheld number. “She then received another call from the accused’s number which she answered and told him to leave her alone.” However Hislop then turned up at the woman’s door. He was refused entry by the woman who then called the police. Representing himself in court, Hislop said: “I know I was wrong. I should never had done it. I haven’t been in contact since and won’t be again. I just want to get past this and move on.” Sheriff Di Emidio deferred sentence for four months for Hislop to be of good behaviour. He said: “You have no previous record for this sort of thing but you made a pest of yourself on this evening, as you acknowledge. “I want to make sure there is no repetition of this sort of incident.”

Scottish League 2

Arbroath part company with boss Todd Lumsden

March 6 2016

Arbroath are on the hunt for a new boss after they “parted company” with Todd Lumsden. Also leaving Gayfield is assistant manager Steven Hislop. The Angus men lost 1-0 to Stirling Albion at Forthbank yesterday and sit third-bottom of League Two. In a statement, the Lichties said: “After a disappointing run of results and a poor league position, Arbroath FC have parted company with manager Todd Lumsden and his assistant Steven Hislop. “The club would like to publicly thank them for their efforts since taking over towards the end of last season and wish them both well for the future. “The club will now actively seek a new management team.”


British Superbike Championship pays tribute to Steve Hislop at Knockhill

June 17 2013

Legendary motorbike racer Steve Hislop was celebrated at Knockhill on Sunday in a round dedicated to his memory. Former team-mates Niall Mackenzie and Jamie Witham completed some special laps at the Fife circuit in tribute to the rider, who died in a helicopter crash 10 years ago. The event was just one part of the weekend’s British Superbike Championship, which Hislop won in 1995 and 2002. Thousands descended on the famous racing venue for the three-day extravaganza, making it Knockhill’s biggest event of the year. Mackenzie said: “We all were going out for some steady laps and I could hear Whit behind me back shifting and prepared to go a bit faster.Photo gallery: British Superbike Championship races into Knockhill“It was great. The bike still feels really sharp and it was lovely to see Steve’s lads here watching trackside too. “It has been great that we can remember him with a fantastic tribute as he had a lot of special races here at Knockhill.” Witham added: “I would have done 25 laps if I had the chance. It was really, really good fun. I was quite surprised how good the bike felt and it wheelied and was brilliant. “It is a pity that Hizzy isn’t with us any more but he would have loved that.”

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.