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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...

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

Man, 54, put on sex offenders register over indecent images

September 30 2015

A man has been placed on the sex offenders register after admitting having hundreds of indecent images of children on his computer. Officers investigating Stephen Thomson seized a laptop and two USB sticks during a raid at a property in Milnathort. They found he had more than 250 photographs, as well as two videos, including seven images at level five at the upper end of the scale. A further 48 were at level four. The videos, totalling around three seconds, were levels one and two. The children in the images were predominantly of girls between the ages of four and 14. Depute fiscal Gavin Letford said the laptop was registered as “Steve’s laptop” and contained a user profile entitled “Steve admin”, which had last been used on June 23 2014. The computer also contained software to prevent browser tracking and also to erase files from the hard drive but they were recovered. Thomson’s former partner was unaware of the existence of the images. Thomson, 54, admitted that between June 23 2013 and June 23 2014 he took or allowed to be taken indecent images of children. The offence is said to have taken place at his then home address on Burleigh Road, Milnathort. He has since moved. Sheriff Lindsay Foulis deferred sentence on Thomson until November for reports but placed him on the sex offenders register in the interim. He reserved judgment on a Crown motion to forfeit the laptop and USB sticks.

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.


Student accused of assaulting former Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has charges dropped

March 15 2018

A student teacher accused of assaulting ex-Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson in the aftermath of a heated Dundee derby earlier this season has had the charges against him dropped. Christopher Brash was accused of pushing Mr Thompson to the ground in a hospitality area at Dens Park last August. It is understood that at the time Mr Thompson believed Mr Brash had been invading his privacy by filming him on his mobile phone. Brash's trial was due to start today but prosecutors said there is not enough evidence to proceed against the 24-year-old, who denied the charge. Mr Brash was accused of repeatedly pushing Mr Thompson on the body and causing him to fall to the floor in a hospitality area at Dens Park on August 9 2017. Mr Thompson was uninjured in the incident. A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: "After careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the available admissible evidence, the procurator fiscal decided that there should be no proceedings taken at this time. "The Crown reserves the right to proceed in the future should further evidence become available." "Criminal proceedings ... totally unnecessary" Brash's solicitor advocate Jim Laverty said his client was delighted that the prosecution "have finally decided to take no further action against him for the alleged assault.” However he criticised the police investigation into the incident which, he said, was a "simple misunderstanding.” He said: "Mr Thompson's robust act when he thought Mr Brash was breaching his privacy by secretly filming him was dealt lawfully by Mr Brash and this finally appears to be accepted. "Had Police Service of Scotland competently investigated the events of that night no criminal proceedings would ever have been taken. "Had our client's mobile phone been interrogated by police Mr Thomson's mistaken belief that Mr Brash was filming him would have been immediately established as wrong. "Instead, Mr Brash has had seven months of a criminal allegation against him over a simple misunderstanding, an allegation with serious consequences for his future career. "Mr Brash is certain that had the misunderstanding been clarified on the 9th August these criminal proceedings would have been totally unnecessary.”

Scottish League 1

Brechin 3 East Fife 0: City close in on play-offs

February 10 2014

Brechin edged closer to the League One play-off positions with a 3-0 home win over East Fife. Both teams created chances early on despite windy conditions. A chip from Ryan Ferguson just cleared the bar, then Kevin Smith cut in from the left and his shot was deflected for a corner by Brechin goalkeeper Graeme Smith. Gerry McLauchlan made a block from East Fife striker Liam Buchanan on 26 minutes and, a minute later, Brechin led. A Ferguson cross came back off goalkeeper Greg Paterson, Robert Thomson’s effort was blocked and Bobby Barr steered the ball home. Smith saved well from Paul Willis, then efforts from Buchanan and Marc McKenzie went narrowly wide of the Brechin goal. On 41 minutes, a lovely pass from Steven Robb played in Andy Jackson and Brechin’s leading marksman made it 2-0. East Fife came out fighting in the second half, a Buchanan shot was turned for a corner then a free-kick from Stevie Campbell curled just wide. But Brechin made it 3-0 on 62 minutes. Thomson broke on the left and, with Paterson out of his goal, the striker planted the ball into the unguarded net. Four minutes later, a Thomson header was cleared off the line by Buchanan. Five minutes from time, Brechin went close again when Steven Jackson took a pass from his brother Andy and hit the crossbar. Delighted Brechin boss Ray McKinnon said: “We are on a good run. Discounting the Rangers game, we have won seven games out of nine. “We must maintain that to the end of the season and see where it leads us.” East Fife manager Gary Naysmith said: “I am frustrated as I do not think Brechin had to work hard for their victory and we gave them their goals.”


Fintry glass attacker ordered to pay £1000 compensation after leaving 78-year-old scarred

May 23 2016

A thug who glassed a 78-year-old man following a bizarre bar-room brawl - leaving the OAP scarred - has avoided jail. Kenneth Thomson attacked Henry Heenan at the Dolphin Bar in Dundee’s Fintry area just before Christmas last year. Thomson had asked the OAP to borrow cash - then later went back for more, causing an argument to break out. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC placed Thomson on an electronic tag restricting him to his home from 7pm to 7am for four months. He was also ordered to pay a £650 fine and £1000 in compensation to Mr Heenan.


Dundee United unveil tribute to former chairman Eddie Thompson

October 15 2015

Seven years on from the passing of Eddie Thompson OBE, Dundee United today unveiled a lasting tribute to its former chairman. In the immediate aftermath, thousands of fans from all over came to pay their respects at Tannadice Park and leave tributes. A selection of those tributes have now been encased on the walls of the Eddie Thompson Stand. Eddie’s widow, Cath was joined by son and current chairman Stephen Thompson and daughter and director Justine Mitchell to unveil the display. She said: “I am deeply proud looking at this tribute today. “At the time of his passing I was struck by how much of an impact Eddie had on the fans and today brings that back into my mind. “It is a lovely tribute and it gives me great peace knowing that it is in place and he will not be forgotten. “He will be remembered for a long time to come and it is highly appropriate that it is situated within the stand named after him.” Daughter Justine said “It was seven years ago today that Stephen and I lost our dad and our mum lost her husband and best friend. “The Club lost one of its biggest and most passionate fans as well as its custodian. “The tributes and mementos left by the fans at the time were a great comfort and it is very apt that we have today preserved that memorial in my dad’s memory in the fitting surrounding of the Eddie Thompson Stand. “It is a great gesture and one the fans will treat with great affection. “The respect they paid was very highly valued and this will hopefully show how appreciated the tributes are to all of us.” Stephen Thompson added: “My dad taught me so much about the Chairmanship of Dundee United and he was taken far too early from our lives. “This club has family values through its core and for us as a family it is great to have this lasting tribute in place within the heart of the stand named after dad. “It is a special place that we can bring his grandchildren along to see how close his relationship was with the fans and how much of an impact he had on the club.” Other tributes laid at Tannadice at the time of Mr Thomson’s will be used as part of the St John’s Indian Village Project, which has helped facilitate life improvement for the local community. The Thompson family have proudly given their backing to this.

Business news

DC Thomson Ventures in PlayCanvas fundraising round

November 19 2014

Cloud-hosted games development firm PlayCanvas has secured £300,000 in new investment following a seed funding round led by DC Thomson Ventures. The company, the venture capital arm of Dundee-based media group and The Courier publisher DC Thomson & Co Ltd, said the new investment came as the PlayCanvas platform signed up its 20,000th developer. The firm is a leading WebGL (web graphics library) game engine and tools provider, and its software has been designed to change the way video games are built, shared and played. The multi-award winning cloud-hosted platform is used by developers, artists and designers to create 3D games and content that work plugin-free on every device. The company which for the last seven months has been based at IDEALondon, the start-up incubator founded by DC Thomson in conjunction with Cisco and University College London is working with clients including Activision, ARM and Mozilla. “I am delighted to welcome DC Thomson Ventures on board as a PlayCanvas investor,” said CEO Will Eastcott, who co-founded the firm with chief technical officer Dave Evans. “Having invited us into IDEALondon, a state-of-the-art innovation centre, DC Thomson Ventures has been with us every step of the way. “In the past six months we’ve grown our team from four to 10, launched our payment plans and quadrupled our user base. Through all of this, DC Thomson’s support and advice has been absolutely invaluable.” DC Thomson Ventures principal Nick Verkroost said: “Will and Dave are two highly accomplished founders bringing a wealth of experience from their time in the games industry. “They have a clear vision of what the developer community needs as the industry fragments into smaller, nimbler teams, and we’re delighted to be joining them on the journey.”