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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


The Forth could bridge the gap to global icons

August 29 2017

The Forth could rival San Francisco, Sydney and London by becoming a top destination for bridge tourism, according to VisitScotland. The tourism organisation believes the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing, which stands alongside the Forth Road Bridge and world heritage site Forth Bridge, could see the area emulate the success of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tower Bridge. These landmarks all regularly attract millions of visitors every year. This week, Scotland enters the history books as the only place in the world to boast three bridges spanning three centuries in one location. As the world’s longest three-tower cable stayed bridge, the Queensferry Crossing is a feat of modern engineering. It will make it easier for local, national and international visitors to travel across the east of the country. Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Queensferry Crossing is about to join its two neighbours in the ranks as one of the world’s most iconic bridges, a national must see for visitors to Scotland. “The people of Scotland will take this new bridge to their hearts and we invite the world to join in celebrating its opening as a celebration of the magnificent feats of innovation, engineering and construction, but also the history and heritage of the three bridges and surrounding areas. “By successfully attracting people to the area, we are working with other bodies to ensure that local communities, businesses and attractions are able to capitalise on this increased level of interest to their benefit.” Scotland is home to a range of bridges, many of which were designed by Scots or built by Scottish construction companies. VisitScotland is currently trying to find the nation’s favourite. The Forth Bridge has emerged as an early title contender, closely followed by the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which played a starring role in the Harry Potter films. VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: “Bridges, such as the Queensferry Crossing, are a lasting reminder of a nation’s engineering expertise and never fail to attract global interest.” He added the new bridge marked Scotland’s place in history as the only destination in the world to boast such a remarkable trilogy. “This is undoubtedly a golden opportunity for tourism and the chance for Scotland to become a global destination for bridge tourism.” Scotland’s bridges From their beauty or breathtaking engineering prowess, Scotland’s bridges each have their own story to tell. Some of Scotland’s most recognisable structures include: The Forth Bridge, which enjoys the same status at the Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China as an UNESCO world heritage site. Glenfinnan Viaduct, which stars in the Harry Potter film series as it carries the Hogwarts Express to the magical school. Brig o’Doon, famed for its appearance in Robert Burns’ epic Tam O’Shanter. Clyde Arc, or otherwise known as the Squinty Bridge because of its twisted arch. Clachan Bridge, which is better known by the much grander title, Bridge over the Atlantic. Carrbridge Packhorse Bridge which is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year. The Kylesku Bridge, a continuous concrete curse which crosses Loch a’Chairn Bhain. Tay Road Bridge, connecting Fife with Dundee. Leaderfoot Viaduct which carried the Berwickshire railway over the Tweed. Swilcan Bridge, an iconic part of golfing history at the Old Course in St Andrews. To cast a vote for visit https://community.visitscotland.com/discussion/1135/your-favourite-scottish-bridges


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o’ the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. © SuppliedTayside musician Eddie Cairney Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It’s just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there’s nothing here I can write about but there’s always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o’ the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” © PAQueensferry Crossing Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song “He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal” Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.”   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. “If you forget your piece you’ve had it and you starve for there’s no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was “midday salvation”! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” © SuppliedEddie Cairney Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

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.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

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


Old Course clash forces name change in Florida

January 31 2011

A golf course in Florida has been forced to change its name after the managers of St Andrews’ Old Course threatened to sue over trademark infringement. Golf has been played at the 18-hole course known as St Andrews Links, in Dunedin, since 1960. But last year the City of Dunedin and course management Billy Casper Golf received a demand of $75,000 from St Andrews Links Trust with the threat of legal action. A cashless settlement was reached, with the agreement the golf course change its name and stop using all St Andrews Links marks, including images of the Swilcan Bridge. The municipal course has been given until April to cease using its current name and transfer website domain name www.saintandrewslinks.com to the trust. St Andrews Links is regarded as the home of golf, the game having been played there for over 600 years, and St Andrews Links Trust, set up in 1974, runs its seven courses. Its most famous course, the Old Course, is a favourite among some of the world’s best golfers, including Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. A challenging course, it has hosted the Open Championship 28 times, more than any other venue and is considered a Mecca for lovers of the game, with people travelling from all the world to play it.BeginnersThe palm-tree-flanked Pinellas County course soon to be known as Dunedin Stirling Links Golf Course is made up of par-three holes and is popular with beginners. Dunedin, the twin town of Stirling, is proud of its connections with Scotland, having been founded by Scottish settlers. Its name comes from the Gaelic for Edinburgh. The agreement between lawyers for Dunedin City and Washington-based Nixon Peabody, acting for St Andrews Links, stressed that St Andrews Links had used its name and depictions of the Swilcan Bridge in connection with golf-related goods and services throughout the world, including the US. A significant sum had been spent marketing these goods, establishing “valuable consumer recognition, goodwill and fame”, it said. The agreement states use by the City of Dunedin or Billy Casper Golf of St Andrews Links marks or any confusingly similar variation of them would “constitute trademark infringement and unfair competition.” While the name remains on the Dunedin golf course’s website, a note states that, “Saint Andrews Links (FL) is not in any way affiliated with Saint Andrews Links of Scotland.” St Andrews Links Trust chief executive Euan Loudon said, “St Andrews Links is recognised around the world as the Home of Golf. “It is a national asset for Scotland, and St Andrews Links has a duty to protect the St Andrews name and the reputation of its world renowned golf courses.Identity”The Swilcan Bridge is also an important part of this identity and we cannot allow it to be exploited. “We appreciate that the City of Dunedin may have had innocent intentions and that is why we have reached an amicable agreement with them to resolve the matter.” Dunedin mayor Dave Eggers told The Courier, “I believe the name on the course has been there for over 50 years, and to my knowledge has never had any issues with the not-to-be-confused-with Saint Andrews course in Scotland.” He added, “This naming is really about creating a tie to Scotland and our own heritage here.” “In any event we were very surprised when they approached us on this ‘infringement’ and candidly approached the contact initially like a simple misunderstanding. “When we realized they were serious we contacted a special attorney to see of our exposure. “Though he felt quite good with our case we nonetheless would have at least had to cover our attorney’s fees if not 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.

From the Newsroom

Coming up in Saturday’s Courier Damning stuff

January 2 2015

Ahh, Tayside and Fife. Home to some of the nation’s finest tourism hotspots. From the fantastic fairways of St Andrews, to the sweeping majesty of the Angus Glens, Courier Country has it all. And for many millions the most iconic sight in Scotland is the Swilcan Bridge on the world famous Old Course. It’s simple beauty, it’s huge significance, the famous shoes that have clattered across it… Such an evocative sight. And yet, at the end of the day, “just a small stone bridge”. Or so one TripAdvisor reviewer thought. Hey-ho. What about the Angus Glens then? Nothing small or insignificant about them surely? There are few finer sights than the rolling hills and babbling brooks of the Glens. Or perhaps the landscape “could be better”. Harrumph. In Saturday’s Courier we run the rule over some of the most astonishing reviews on TripAdivsor. So perhaps Scotland is made, not by the beauty of its environs, but by the quality of its products. Chief among them, surely, the bagpipes. But what’s this? Could the very future of the pipes be under threat? Could the chanter be forever silenced? Heaven forfend. We find out more. Meanwhile, Bob Servant’s creator has some new scripts. And they are causing a big stir. In LA. Wowser. Don’t miss Saturday’s Courier for full mind-blowing details. Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? I’ve got one for you. Enjoy every single day (apart from Sunday, Christmas Day and indeed New Year’s day) in the company of the galaxy’s finest newspaper (title yet to be officially confirmed). For starters, please do ensure you pick up Saturday’s Courier. Failing that why not put your new digital device to the test (if indeed Santa was so generous last week) by trying our digital edition?