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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...


Manager has no doubts Sandaza and Morris will continue to give 100% for St Johnstone

February 2 2012

St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas insists Jody Morris and Fran Sandaza have retained their focus for the club despite some feverish speculation about their futures during the transfer window. The McDiarmid Park manager had feared there might be late bids on Tuesday night for skipper Morris from former Saints boss Derek McInnes at Bristol City, and a renewed offer from Rangers for striker Sandaza after they lost their own top scorer Nikica Jelavic to Everton. However, the window closed with no further interest and a relieved Lomas has admitted he is delighted both players will be available for Sunday's Scottish Cup clash with Hearts in Edinburgh. Lomas said: ''We knew by about 8pm on Tuesday that nothing would happen so we're delighted to keep the squad intact. We will have Jody and Fran for another four months at least so we can hopefully kick on from here. ''I can understand the circumstances with Jody and Derek McInnes because they are very close, but he is a top professional so it's not a problem. ''Both he and Fran are great pros. They love playing and if you see the way they have performed in the last few weeks it shows they are desperate to do well for St Johnstone. ''We didn't get any offers from anyone so in the end there were no decisions to be made. And that's something we're delighted about so we just want to look forward to Hearts on Sunday now.'' Lomas completed some transfer business of his own earlier this week with the capture of two on-loan Under-21 recruits Kudus Oyenuga from Spurs and James Keatings from Celtic. However, he took time out to praise the efforts of another youngster, Stevie May, who has hit the back of the net eight times since being farmed out to Alloa. He added: ''We wanted to send Stevie out on loan to get experience and we're thrilled that he's doing so well. He will really be learning from the experience, so the plan is for him to come back here and kick on for us next season. ''You want your young players getting out to play in matches rather than sit on the bench so it's been a fantastic move for Stevie.'' Meanwhile, another McDiarmid Park teenager Stephen Reynolds has left the club by mutual consent. The player had spent time out on loan at Ayr United and more recently Raith Rovers but with no immediate opportunity to break into the first team looming, Lomas has offered the player the chance to leave to find another club.

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


St Johnstone looking forward to reaping benefit of Stevie May’s loan adventure

January 4 2012

St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas is thrilled that teenage striker Stevie May is making his mark with loan club Alloa. The youngster grabbed a hat-trick in the Wasps' 3-1 win over East Stirling at the weekend and Recreation Park manager Paul Hartley is keen to extend his stay. But Lomas, who is pressing Bulgarian outfit CSKA Sofia to let them keep Cillian Sheridan at McDiarmid Park through to the end of the campaign, admits he will have to assess his frontline options before giving Hartley the thumbs-up. When he does end his loan at Alloa be it this month or in the summer Lomas believes Saints will reap the benefits of May getting regular first-team football. He said: ''We're delighted for Stevie and the hat-trick will have sent his confidence soaring. We have already seen the benefits of his loan spell in training sessions. He is really buzzing. ''I'll have to sit down with coaches Tommy Wright and Alec Cleland to assess whether Stevie will be involved if he comes back, or whether it is better for him to be getting more first-team experience and getting goals at Alloa.'' The 19-year-old burst on to the SPL scene last season under previous boss Derek McInnes. He had a couple of man-of-the-match performances but slipped out of the top-team picture towards the end of the term. The local lad then dropped further down the pecking order with the arrival of Sheridan, Fran Sandaza and Marcus Haber in the summer. Lomas added: ''Kids are never the finished article when they come into the first team. The fear you have with youngsters is that they stagnate because of the under-21 rule. ''I know Paul Hartley and he has been good for Stevie. This is a young manager who has a wealth of experience at top clubs as a player and Stevie is learning all the time.'' Inverness have halved ticket prices for their rearranged SPL game against Saints as they apologised for the late postponement. The Perth club were well on the way to Inverness ahead of the 2pm kick-off and Lomas was left ''bamboozled'' over the change in circumstances.

UK & World

Ancient shoreline of warm sea unearthed in west London

March 16 2018

An ancient, sub-tropical coastline dating back 56 million years has been found in west London by engineers working on the new high speed rail line.The HS2 team unearthed a previously unknown material in Ruislip while carrying out investigations of the ground under the route of the line at 8,000 spots along the first phase from London to the West Midlands.The black clay layer was found up to 33 metres (108ft) below the surface and has been named by HS2 Ltd, the Government-owned company building the railway, as the ‘Ruislip Bed’.It is thought to have been formed from densely wooded marshes on the edge of a sub-tropical sea. It dates from a time when most of southern England was covered by a warm sea and the clay helps pinpoint where the shoreline was, says Dr Jacqueline Skipper, geological expert from Geotechnical Consulting Group.She said: “Although ground investigations regularly take place across the country, it’s really exciting and very unusual to come across a material that no-one has ever seen before.“The ‘Ruislip Bed’ discovery is particularly fascinating, as it is a window into our geographical history.“It would have been formed during the Paleocene period, which was a time of intense change, with new animals evolving following the extinction of the dinosaurs.”Steve Reynolds, HS2’s ground investigation programme manager, said: “Since 2015 we have been investigating ground conditions along the route of HS2, so we can design the railway in the safest and most efficient way.”He said methods of exploration included drilling into the ground and radar technology, and more than a million lab tests had been conducted on the samples taken, with main investigations now almost complete.“It’s the largest ground investigation programme that the UK has ever seen and an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the ground beneath our feet,” he said.

UK & World

Man admits murdering teenager Georgia Williams

December 2 2013

A killer who strangled a 17-year-old girl and dumped her body in woodland before fleeing to Scotland has admitted murder. Jamie Reynolds, who previously denied the charge, pleaded guilty to the murder of Georgia Williams during a hearing at Stafford Crown Court. The 23-year-old was at the centre of a UK-wide manhunt in May after killing Georgia in their home town of Wellington, Shropshire, and dumping her body in woodland near Wrexham. Reynolds, wearing a dark suit, a striped shirt and a purple tie, sat with hishead bowed in the dock after entering his plea on what was scheduled to thefirst day of a three-week trial. The shop worker, of Avondale Road, Wellington, was arrested at a hotel in Glasgow on May 29 this year, three days after his victim was reported missing. Georgia, a member of the Air Training Corps who planned to join the RAF as a paramedic, knew Reynolds and is believed to have been killed at an address in Wellington. The teenager’s body was found around 50 miles miles away, off the Nant-y-Garth pass. Reynolds, who will be sentenced later this month, is known to have killed Georgia after inviting her to pose for a photo-shoot. His victim, who had previously done modelling work to help her sister’s business, is believed to have died on the day she was reported missing. Before Reynolds was arrested, media reports claimed he had made advances via Facebook and other social media sites towards Georgia, a former head girl at Telford’s Ercall Wood Technology College. Friends said the A-level student, who was just 5ft 3ins and of slim build, had made it clear she was not interested in a relationship with Reynolds. Although the facts of the case were not opened at today’s hearing, prosecutor David Crigman QC told Mr Justice Wilkie he would have to view distressing photographic material relevant to the case before passing sentence.

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.


Carrie Fisher’s Dashing White Sergeant on Dundee station platform

January 4 2017

Carrie Fisher went from a galaxy far, far away to dancing the Dashing White Sergeant at Dundee railway station, it has been revealed. The actress, best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, died at the age of 60 on December 27, four days after suffering a heart attack on a plane. Her mother Debbie Reynolds died the following day after suffering a stroke. But is has now been revealed Ms Fisher enjoyed a trip to Scotland that culminated in a ceilidh on the deserted platform at Dundee railway station. Writing in The Times, journalist Roderick Grant recalled travelling around Scotland on board The Royal Scotsman with the actress. While The Blues Brothers star was one of the fee-paying tourists on the trip, he had been commissioned to write a magazine article about the journey. He revealed Fisher, accompanied by her French bulldog Gary, had been unimpressed by a visit to Glamis Castle — the Queen Mother's ancestral home — because of the dim lighting within the building. But that did not stop her splashing out £500 on a cashmere dog coat from the castle's gift shop before both Carrie and Gary took part in some Scottish country dancing in Dundee railway station. At midnight, an accordion orchestra led the 28 passengers on the £1,500 a day trip on to the deserted platform at Dundee railway station where they danced The Dashing White Sergeant and eightsome reels. Gilchrist wrote: "I partner Carrie, and Gary is here too of course, dashing in and our of the dancers' feet. Carrie appears transfixed with joy by this simple pleasure." Ms Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd broke her silence about the deaths of her mother and grandmother, who died within a day of each other, on Monday. The 24-year-old posted on social media site Instagram: "Receiving all of your prayers and kind words over the past week has given me strength during a time I thought strength could not exist.” “There are no words to express how much I will miss my Abadaba and my one and only Momby. Your love and support means the world to me.” A joint funeral is planned for the two actresses.


Young St Johnstone hopefuls to have their chance

December 30 2010

The next generation of St Johnstone stars are to get their first team chance in the New Year, Perth boss Derek McInnes has revealed. Teenage striker Stevie May has been tipped as a top team regular of the future, while Liam Caddis, Mark Durnan, Stephen Reynolds and Ricky McIntosh should all also get game time over the next few months, McInnes has pledged. A sign of the manager's faith in May, in particular, was the fact that he sent him on as a late substitute at Celtic Park on Sunday while the game was still in the balance. He said, "I really like Stevie. He's a boy I'm confident will have a good career in football and will feature in St Johnstone's first team on a consistent basis. "I had toyed with the idea of putting him in before the Celtic match and with involving him regularly. "Part of the reason I've not put him out on loan is that I see him learning his game with us. "I've already seen a big improvement in Stevie from when he was a young player. "There's a zest and freshness about his game and there are goals in him. "He can play across the frontline in three or four positions but his best position will be up front off the main striker. "On Sunday he came on and gave us legs. He helped us get behind Celtic and that's a quality he's got. I rate him really highly." On the rest of the crop of 17 and 18-year-olds, McInnes observed, "We've now got Durnan and Reynolds back from their loan spells (at Arbroath and Ayr United respectively). There's also McIntosh and Caddis. "All five will feature in the first team in the months ahead." Meanwhile, McInnes reported that had the Rangers game gone ahead last night Murray Davidson would have been available. Should there be no mishaps in training the influential midfielder is therefore expected to be fit in time for the visit of Inverness Caley Thistle on Sunday. He said, "With Jody Morris and Jamie Adams also back we should be well off for central midfielders, which is a bonus."

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