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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...

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

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

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.

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.

News

Sponsored article: Happy Days ARGON

September 26 2012

How Argon Gas is winning the war against heating bills. We've come a long way from putting a sausage dog made from Mum's old tights across the porch door, not that we are suggesting you should ever stop with the old draft excluder. But there is some much more you can do these days. With heating bills going through the roof the trick is to keep the heat in your house - it's also a great way of using less fuel. Companies like Safestyle UK are pioneering new techniques in energy efficiency not just for the next generation of new house but also to completely change the feel of our older ones too. You don't tend to think of the "double glazing man" having much to do with chemistry and physics but you'd be wrong. The days of windows being simply a sheet of glass in a wooden frame are long gone and seem positively archaic these days. Making the move from single glazing to double glazing can be as profound as when you had central heating fitted for the first time - anyone old enough will never forget the difference that made. Before double glazing people would have cowered at the thought of a duvet... only fifteen tightly tucked blankets, flannelette sheets and a pair of bed socks where the basic requirements for a good night's sleep...and let's not forget the trust hot water bottle which was there to keep you warm rather than to help with stomach cramps. So where does the chemistry come in to double glazing? Well, none of it would be possible without the float glass technique developed by the Pilkington company which allowed us to produce large sheets of toughened glass to a near perfect thickness. Then there's the clever nano coatings that are added these days to reduce the amount of heat transferred from the surface of the glass to the outside world. There is also the double pane of glass that we can thank the Romans for. They originally discovered that their heating bills were going too high in the UK - a bath house needed a lots of wood to keep it warm and they decided to put in two panes of glass rather than one. It certainly worked but this was not the double glazing we know today. The things that makes double glazing so effective is a little known gas called Argon. It's shame it's so unknown but until the modern double glazing industry came along it didn't really have much to shout about. It doesn't react with anything. It doesn't smell of anything and it doesn't really do anything. Believe it or not we actually have nearly 25 times more Argon in our atmosphere than Carbon Dioxide... so it's probably just as well it doesn't do anything. Chemistry loving named it the "lazy gas" because of its inert nature and it is these very properties that make it perfect for energy efficient double glazing. Argon is rubbish at transferring heat and this is why it is carefully sealed into double glazing units in state of the art manufacturing facilities. And you thought a window was just a window not anymore! Argon is also a very dry gas and this massively helps with lowering the amount of heat lost through a window. You can walk out on a freezing cold day, the lowest temperature recorded in the area was around minus 18 but this is usually a dry cold and so doesn't feel as bad as when it's a couple of degrees about zero and raining that feels so grim because the damp air just sucks the heat straight out of your skin. If you ever see a double glazing unit with condensation in between the sheets of glass then this means all of the dry Argon gas has leaked out and been replaced with normal, damp air. In other words the unit has failed and doesn't work anymore. So when it comes to winning the war against rising gas bills the silent, unsung hero is Argon gas which is so effective at keeping in the heat that they are beginning to develop arctic survival jackets that contain pockets of it.

Readers' letters

September 13: Perth footbridge is ‘obscene’ waste of money

September 13 2010

Today our correspondents discuss the proposed footbridge at Perth, statistics, land taxes and the meaning of life. Perth footbridge is 'obscene' waste of money Sir, I note that Perth and Kinross Councillor Ian Miller is intending to consult residents as to what the new pedestrian bridge should be called. I, and the majority of residents in Perth, know perfectly well what it should be called - a complete and utter waste of public money. Here we are, a country floundering in the depths of recession, where we are all being asked to tighten our belts and batten down the hatches, yet Perth and Kinross Council has the audacity to spend £1.4 million of our money to go towards funding a bridge for a few cyclists and walkers. This is the same council which could only afford to cut the greens of the North Inch Golf Course twice a week - a course which was once the best municipal course in the country and whose greens were once the envy of many private courses in Scotland. This is the same council whose salary costs have spiralled through the roof in recent years. This is the same council which is now even asking us to pay for extra wheelie bins. What the council should be asking is what is the best way to spend £1.4m. I can tell you they will be deluged with responses but building a pedestrian bridge will certainly not be one of them. The very thought of building such a bridge in the present economic climate which we will need to partly finance and pay maintenance costs for evermore, is not only ridiculous but it is an obscene and immoral use of public money. It is time that the people of Perth put an abrupt stop to this. Ian McPherson.182 Glasgow Road,Perth. Criminal use of statistics Sir, Being a retired police officer, I must say that I find press articles regarding the apparent reduction of crime, amusing to say the least. Politicians both national and local appear to get excited whenever such reports are published. If they would take a deep breath they would realise that the figures refer to recorded crime and not the true total of the crimes committed. In many cases, the police do not attend to reports of crime and, therefore, they are not recorded. April Fool comes to mind when I read such articles. Allan Murray.44 Napier Road,Glenrothes. Land tax is more equitable Sir, Graeme Brown (September 8) is right to celebrate the drop in house prices. How absurd that rampant inflation in the price of such a fundamental necessity as a place to live should be seen as a good economic indicator. That was the fallacy that led us to the present crisis. Mr Brown makes the connection between house prices and land prices. It is of course, the land, not the bricks and mortar, that is the volatile element in the property market and unless politicians recognise this, they will never succeed in stabilising prices. The solution lies in a radical revision of our tax system, shifting the source of public revenue away from active production and on to land values. The system of land value taxation was considered by the Scottish Office as an option for local government finance in 1998, when its Land Reform Policy Group produced a report in readiness for action by the new Scottish Parliament. It noted that the result would be a "fall in value of property for current owners" but, ironically, it listed this as the prime disadvantage. Perhaps, in 1998, no politician wanted to spoil the illusion of prosperity that rising house prices created but the Scottish Parliament has continued to ignore the link between land reform and fiscal reform and has so far wasted the opportunity that even its limited tax powers offer. Land has no production cost and its value is publicly generated. Land values are a measure of the comparative public demand for different sites and are further enhanced by the provision of public services and infrastructure. Rather than being allowed to haemorrhage into private or corporate pockets, these values should be recycled back into the public purse. At UK level, the huge stream of revenue would enable the government to reduce the current burden of deadweight taxation on industry and enterprise, while avoiding the threatened draconian cuts to public services. Crucially, it would strike at the root cause of the boom-bust cycle and prevent the otherwise inevitable repetition. John Digney.Creagmhor Lodge,Lochard Road,Aberfoyle. We make our own meaning Sir, Harrison Hudson (September 9) says, somewhat predictably, that "the notion that existence comes from nothing is just not credible" and "every effect must have an adequate cause". He then does a complete about-face to claim this god he worships is the exception to those rules. The notion that God was necessary to manufacture the universe and everything in it is just not credible, for it would logically necessitate the search for who or what had created God, reductio ad absurdum. Such a notion would be nonsense. Mr Hudson argues that if the universe has no purpose, it is difficult to explain our search for meaning. It is not difficult at all. Simply, it is up to us to create meaning. Meaning has been best explained by Robert Ingersoll, the great US humanist, who said, "The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, the way to be happy is to make other people so." As author Douglas Adams said, "Is it not enough to see that the garden is beautiful, without having to imagine fairies at the bottom of it?" Alistair McBay.Lawmuirview,Methven. 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.

Motoring news

Rising repair costs and whiplash claims behind insurance rise

February 11 2017

Vehicle insurance premiums hit a record high last quarter, rising by more than five times the rate of inflation in 2016. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that tax increases, rising repair costs and increasing costs arising from whiplash injury claims were to blame. According to the ABI’s Motor Premium Tracker - which measures the price consumers actually pay for their cover, rather than quotes - the average price for private comprehensive insurance in Q4 2016 was £462. The highest figure recorded before this was in Q2 of 2012, when the average price was £443. The Q4 figure for 2016 was up 4.9% over Q3, equating to a £22 rise in the average premium. It was also found that the average premium for all of 2016 was 9.3% higher than the average premium for 2015. ABI’s assistant director and head of motor and liability, Rob Cummings, said: “These continue to be tough times for honest motorists. They are bearing the brunt of a cocktail of rising costs associated with increasing whiplash-style claims, rising repair bills and a higher rate of insurance premium tax. “While we support the Government’s further reforms to tackle lower-value whiplash costs, it must not give with one hand and take away with the other. The sudden decision to review the discount rate has the potential to turn a drama into a crisis, with a significant cut throwing fuel on the fire in terms of premiums. “Insurers are open to a proper dialogue on how to reform the system and urge the Lord Chancellor to engage with the industry about setting a rate that is fair for both claimants and customers.” Meanwhile, the RAC has released research that suggests not indicating when turning is our number one annoyance on the roads. Well over half (58%) of the survey’s respondents said failing to indicate was the top inconsiderate behaviour. It was narrowly ahead (56%) of those who thought middle lane hogging was the greatest driving sin.

Business comment

Local priorities must not be lost

June 14 2017

Concerns, I have a few. After what Malcolm Tucker could only describe as an omnishambles of an election, Theresa May and her acolytes are trying their damndest to cling on to power. But whether that is in the country’s best interests or their own is very much a subject for debate. From a business perspective, the political machinations at Westminster are much more than a distracting sideshow. Make no mistake, instability at the highest levels of government and uncertainty about our future economic path will be the dominant subject in boardrooms up and down the country right now. And when that’s the case, a period of lower investment, slower growth, fewer new jobs and economic morass often follows. Only time will tell if that is the case here, but with the Brexit negotiations so close at hand it is hard to imagine our large corporates being happy to dispense with their largesse right now. If I were them, I too would be looking at the rainy days ahead and putting aside some pennies, especially when the UK’s negotiating strategy is so ill-defined and our hand so weak. The Brexit vote left the UK economically isolated and I accept that Theresa May has had to play the cards as they were dealt. But by calling a disastrous election, she let her guard down and handed the other high stakes poker players round the EU negotiating table an unintended advantage at a crucial moment. It was a spectacular own goal and one I fear the UK may rue long after Theresa May, David Davis and Michael Gove are consigned to being names in modern studies textbooks. Away from the Brexit negotiations, there are other domestic priorities I hope don’t get lost in this political whirlwind. The key one for this part of the world is the Tay Cities Deal, the UK and Scottish Government-backed investment package that is so vital to the long-term prosperity of Dundee, Perth, Angus and north-east Fife. City deals are already providing investment and jobs in other areas of Scotland but until the ink is dry on the Tay Cities package then none of us should rest easy. The economic health of this region depends on it. ghuband@thecourier.co.uk

Angus & The Mearns

Angus councillor inspired by great-granny’s essay on the suffragists

February 9 2018

An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir - the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.

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