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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

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Passchendaele heroes added to Dundee war roll

August 10 2017

Three members of a Dundee family who survived the Battle of Passchendaele have been added to the city’s roll of honour. The Great War Dundee Project is the story of the 30,490 men that left the city to fight in the first world war and of the people left at home. Dundee gave 63% of its eligible men to the armed forces and the directory was updated following Saturday’s Courier article about the role the city’s Johnston brothers played in the war. Of the five Johnston brothers, Frank, Walter, David and Peachy were artillerymen, and the fifth, John, was an army doctor. Frank and Walter’s entries have now been updated while David, Peachy and John have now had entries created in the returnee section of the honour roll. Gary Thomson from the Great War Dundee Project said: “Following Saturday’s Courier article on the five Johnston brothers who served in the war, with both Frank and Walter paying the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that Frank, for reasons unknown is not recognised as a casualty of war, the Great War Dundee Project has updated the entries for both Frank and Walter on the new roll of honour. “Dundee paid a high price for her war efforts. By the armistice, over 4,000 men had made the ultimate sacrifice. “Their names are recorded in the city’s original roll of honour, a simple alphabetical list of names, ranks and regiments. “Over the years mistakes and omissions have been discovered by families viewing the list resulting in handwritten corrections to the record.” Mr Thomson said one of Great War Dundee’s main objectives is to produce an “inclusive, fully searchable online roll of Dundonians who contributed to the war effort” and in doing so honour the men and women who lost their lives and those who survived. He added: “Due to the fact that Frank was not recognised as a casualty his entry on the original Dundee Roll of Honour was very sparse with only his name and regiment listed. “Saturday’s article allowed us to contact Frank’s relative who provided us with a fantastic amount on information about Frank and Walter which have been added to their entry. “Not only that but the three brothers who survived, David, John and Peachy have now have entries created, in the returnee section of the honour roll. “It is thanks to people like Douglas that these entries now have added information and photos.” Frank is believed to have been wounded in Flanders in 1917 and he endured a prolonged and difficult death in November 1919 in a private nursing home in Dundee as a result of his injuries. The family have been unable to provide sufficient independent corroboration that he died directly of his war wounds as his army records have not survived. Frank’s great nephew Douglas Norrie from near Arbroath is trying to find documentary evidence to correct this. David and Frank were both with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and their batteries of large long range howitzers were deployed at Corps level and primarily used to attack specific enemy targets, particularly enemy artillery. Walter and Peachy served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) with their respective brigades being attached to infantry divisions and their smaller, highly portable field guns being used in support of infantry. The fifth of the brothers, Captain (Dr) John McPherson Johnston was a doctor and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was awarded the Silver War Badge after being discharged with TB.

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.


Think-tank eyes business top spot

June 26 2015

Scotland should use its extensive new and existing economic powers to become the easiest place in the world to do business, according to a think-tank. The UK is ranked eighth in the World Bank's league table of countries where it is easiest to do business. Scotland is not ranked separately but think-tank Reform Scotland said it should aim to fulfil the criteria for first place. Chairman Ben Thomson, who is stepping down after seven years, has set a parting challenge to the Scottish Parliament to use its position as one of the most powerful devolved administrations on Earth to create a world-leading business environment. His final report calls for Air Passenger Duty to be scrapped immediately upon its devolution to the Scottish Parliament as part of the upcoming Scotland Bill. An Edinburgh Airport study has estimated a £200 million economic benefit from a 50% reduction in the tax, and Mr Thomson believes that its abolition will be of even greater benefit and improve the international reach of Scotland's businesses. He has also called for business rates to be devolved directly to councils to meet local requirements, the abolition of fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, full autonomy for colleges and a reform of quangos. It has also called for the devolution of corporation tax, something the SNP has long argued for which has been resisted by the UK Government. The planning system should be reformed to incentivise local authorities, childcare support should be distributed by a voucher scheme and Government contractors should end their "culture of late payment", Mr Thomson said. Business should also be provided with a "one-stop-shop" for Government advice, and the Government should also make it easier to invest in small businesses, he added. Mr Thomson said: "There are three key factors which should power long-term economic growth - investment in infrastructure, a focus on education and low taxes. "However, in the current financial climate we have to accept that these key factors can be difficult to alter substantially. With that in mind, we therefore have to look at other practical measures we can take to create a healthy business environment and squeeze out as much economic growth as possible. "Most of our 11 recommendations involve powers which are either already devolved to the Scottish Parliament, or soon will be. "Furthermore, Scotland is in a hugely advantageous position in that it is small enough to implement these policies quickly in order to create the attractive business environment which we need to create jobs and prosperity while also generating the money to finance schools, roads and other public spending. "The World Bank ranks the UK eight in its 'Ease of Doing Business' table. It would be good to think that if Scotland was ranked separately, it could be number one. That should be our aim."

Readers' letters

February 12: Let university process take its course

February 12 2011

Abertay University, local food, faith schools, caps on taxis, and the banks are all discussed in today's letters. Let university process take its course Sir,-As a former employee of the University of Abertay Dundee and colleague of Professor Sarkar, I respect his views (February) about the principal. I would venture to suggest, however, that, for a university court to have moved to suspend a principal, there must be very significant and unresolved issues in regard to management, management style and/or the direction of the university. It is facile to suggest that this is simply members of the university playing politics. It appears to be an attempt to ensure the future of the university. It would be appropriate to await the outcome of the investigation before commenting but it is encouraging that the university court is taking its responsibilities seriously. D. J. Hogarth.12 Moyness Park Drive,Blairgowrie. Grants hope for local food Sir,-Despite the challenging pressures faced by the food-processing sector, notably with increasing fuel prices, I believe that the sector has the ability to overcome such problems. The recently announced Scottish Government Food Processing and Marketing grants to the sector, including a number of local businesses, demonstrates that the sector has an appetite for expanding, diversifying and investing in new markets and products. I also believe this tunes in with an increasing demand and interest by consumers for quality, local food. Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans. Let children decide on faith Sir,-Alister Rankin is right to criticise faith schools (February 10) but past and present governments alike seem determined to pursue a policy of dividing kids by faith, and subverting their education, at tax payers' expense. In England and Wales, we now see schools opting out of the state system to become academies. As predicted by critics, hundreds of those considering this are religious schools, thus paving the way for many more children to be exposed to beliefs like creationism, or dangerous ones like Islamism. Supporters of superstition-based education emphasise the parents' right to educate their children according to their delusions. What they forget is the right of children to an unbiased education free of indoctrination and their right to an opportunity to form opinions different to those of their parents. (Dr) Stephen Moreton.33 Marina Avenue,Great Sankey,Warrington. Dangers in taxi free-for-all Sir,-I have read with interest your articles concerning taxi numbers within Dundee. The taxi trade are endeavouring to meet their council to discuss an upper limit on licences. I presume the association will seek regular taxi demand surveys, paid for via licensing funds, which will not only consider demand for taxis but give the local authority and taxi trade a closer understanding of the taxi needs of the people. It appears drivers believe the current situation, with an over-abundance of taxis, has created problems. My understanding of the policies of both the Scottish and Westminster governments is one where locals are best placed to decide the transport requirements of their area. The Office of Fair Trading report of November 2003 gave the view that local authorities should not limit taxi numbers. This report was subsequently condemned as "flawed" by the Westminster Transport Select Committee and contained evidence that the service to the customer in a regulated area was far better than the service in an unlimited area. Many local authorities in England and Wales have recapped taxi numbers, most notably Cardiff where recapping was supported by the police. It was cited that the over-abundance of taxis had created insufficient ranking space, dangerous parking, traffic congestion and pollution problems. Unlimited taxis mean drivers have to work longer to make a living. Longer hours are a by-product of the over-abundance which, in turn, creates a danger to the public. Wayne Casey.National Taxi Association,60 Chesterholm,Sandsfield Park,Carlisle. Banks have us over barrel Sir,-The banks must be hoping that lower bonuses will persuade independent assessors not to break them up later this year. But complete separation of savings from risky, bonus-driven "innovations" in banking may well be the only way to avoid future taxpayer bail-outs or runs on banks. The UK's problem is that the financial sector is so huge that the coalition may cave in to banks if they threaten to leave in the event of a split-up. Angus Ramsay.34 Kings Road,Rosyth. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

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.

European Central Bank: US tax law could erode Europe’s tax base

February 5 2018

Economists at the European Central Bank said the US corporate tax cut should lift the world’s largest economy in the short term – but could erode the tax base in European countries by intensifying global competition for lower rates.The cut in business taxes will provide a “significant fiscal stimulus” to growth in the US and would be “positive in the short term”, an article set to appear in the ECB’s regular economic bulletin said.It warned that long-term effects are less clear, especially if the cut leads to larger US budget deficits.Effects on the 19-country eurozone are “highly uncertain and complex”, but could include tax base erosion if countries around the world compete by lowering their tax rates to attract businesses.