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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...

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.

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.

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

Rocktalk

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. 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. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “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. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “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!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo 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.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “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. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 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.” 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs 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.

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

Readers' letters

Hope he takes fight to European courts

January 2 2014

Sir, I refer to your article, Glenrothes man ready for fresh “bedroom tax” battle, December 24. I fully support Mr Nelson in this and the other people who have been put in this position. I hope he does go to the European Court and embarrasses the Government into rescinding this ignominious regulation. I find it incomprehensible that this Government of the “we’re all in it together” philosophy is penalising poor people for having an extra bedroom while giving a council tax rebate to owner-occupiers for under occupation. This council tax rebate is paid for by us all. It allows an individual to buy a three-bedroom house and offset his council tax because he is a sole occupier. Surely the same rules should apply to everyone? But this Tory Government makes its own subversive agenda. They crack down on people abusing the welfare system, which is fair enough, but seem to think it is perfectly OK for a member of the House of Lords to walk away with £3,000 a month to support his mouldering pile. In what way is this man different to anyone else on welfare? Well, for one thing, he has a well-paid job that he appears to be too damned idle to do. Unlike the lower paid workers who don’t earn enough to support themselves and their families. However, what do you expect, he is a lord. You don’t really expect him to work, do you? It would be interesting to hear the Scottish Tories’ view on this. Lindsay Johnston. The Gauldry. What is point of obstruction? Sir, Heading south by car out of Cupar has always needed careful driving. Traffic coming out of Tesco’s car park has to be watched carefully as have vehicles heading into Cupar from the Ceres road junction. Those hazards negotiated, the next hurdle is residents’ parked cars taking up one third of the road and leaving space in and out for two lanes of cars only. One bus, lorry or even large van heading either way and one lane has to stop. Once all this is safely passed the road is clear sorry was clear. Out of the blue for many motorists comes a traffic island stretching across half the road. While there are sunken drains and holes in the road all over the place this sturdy, well-built obstruction appeared as an obvious priority for the authorities. Why? If it is designed to slow down traffic on what was a formerly clear road it is a failure. What now happens is that traffic heading south either stops and then, when their route is clear, accelerates in a rush to get on with their journey or, if there is no oncoming traffic, rush to get past the obstruction before oncoming traffic builds up. Between repairing the road and building an unnecessary obstruction the sensible option is obvious . . . to everyone except the road authorities, it would seem. Ian Wheeler. Springfield, Fife. Extortionate short-haul fare Sir, Over the years a variety of reasons have been put forward to explain the gradual decline in passenger numbers using Dundee Airport. In fact, for a while there was almost a “head in the sand” attitude as to what has always been a root cause viz the absolutely extortionate fares being charged for the short-haul domestic routes on offer. This was recently highlighted in your article, Service ‘is preposterously expensive’, (December 24), which drew attention to the experience of Mr David McGovern who was recently quoted a fare of £650 for a return flight from Dundee to London City. I had a similar experience some time ago when required to rejoin my ship which was berthed at the Excel Centre in London. A flight from Dundee to London City was logistical perfection. I put this to the owners who were responsible for my travelling expenses and they concurred that this sounded ideal but requested that I obtain a fare quotation before booking. The fare quoted bore no resemblance to reality and I was promptly instructed to abandon the idea and book the shuttle from Edinburgh to Heathrow at a fraction of the cost. To put things into proper perspective here, the £650 fare quoted to Mr McGovern for his flight to London City actually buys you a return flight from Glasgow to Bangkok via Dubai with Emirates Airlines and includes some 15 hrs of free in-flight food and drink. Until Dundee Airport can come up with services offering competitive fares it is going nowhere. Roy R Russell. 1c Smithy Road, Balmullo. Seasonal sanctimony Sir, Few can have been surprised when a sanctimonious Vince Cable compared David Cameron to Enoch Powell because he voiced concern over the new immigrant flood. Mr Cable was supported by his posturing party leader Nick Clegg who grandly declared he would not tolerate any further curbs on EU immigration. The Lib Dem leader made the absurd claim that Tories want a “no-entry sign” on the cliffs of Dover and “German lawyers, Dutch accountantsand Finnish engineers expelled”. In fact, Mr Cameron’s real sin has been to reflect the views of Joe Public who, in the eyes of the metropolitan elite, is too stupid to have an opinion worthy of consideration. The tsunami will not trouble Mr Cable’s leafy Thameside constituency, but others already struggle with the immigrant impact on their schools, transport and health care. Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.

Dundee

Dundee smokers needed for university’s vaping study

January 27 2017

Smokers in Dundee are being recruited for a new study that will examine the potential health risks of vaping. Researchers at Dundee University are looking for 135 volunteers who have been smoking for at least two years and who smoke more than 15 tobacco cigarettes a day, or the equivalent amount of rolling tobacco, for the vital research. The effects of smoking on blood vessels will then be compared to the blood vessels of those who use e-cigarettes. The VESUVIUS study is being funded by the British Heart Foundation who say more work is needed to understand the potential impact of vaping on heart and circulatory health. Smokers who sign up for the study will be put into one of three possible treatment groups: continuing with tobacco cigarettes, switching to e-cigarettes with nicotine or e-cigarettes without nicotine. Dr Jacob George, who is leading the study, said: "Many people are using e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking and they are sold on the principle that they're a much safer alternative to traditional cigarettes because they don't contain harmful substances like tobacco and tar. "But just like traditional cigarettes, most of the do contain nicotine, which can be harmful to blood vessels. "So it's essential to know how much safer they really are, compared to tobacco cigarettes." Participants will have to make two visits to Ninewells Hosptial, four weeks apart. There, they will provide blood and breath samples as well as receiving a blood pressure check and undergoing a non-invasive ultrasound examination of blood vessels in their arm. British Heart Foundation Scotland director James Cant said: "We all know that smoking tobacco raises our risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. "E-cigs have been hailed by some as a great way to help smokers quit but little is actually known about their impact on our heart and circulatory system. That's why we're delighted to funding this important research." Anyone who wants to take part should contact trial manager Pippa Hopkinson on 01382 383195 or 07850 540230. Alternatively, they can email vesuvius@dundee.ac.uk

Outdoors

Sea eagles give Loch Leven bird-watchers a thrill

January 16 2011

Eagle-eyed bird-watchers in Kinross have spotted a giant bird of prey at the Loch Leven nature reserve. Visitors have enjoyed the spectacular sight of white-tailed sea eagles flying above RSPB Vane Farm since last month. The majestic birds have been fishing in the nearby loch. One visitor described the sight as "amazing" and said she was "thrilled" to see a second sea eagle appear. The young birds are part of the East Scotland Sea Eagle release programme a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission Scotland. They hope to reintroduce sea eagles to east Scotland, building on successful reintroductions on the west coast. So far 64 birds have been released through the initiative since it began in 2007. The birds are easy to identify due to their coloured tags the female (turquoise tag H) and male (turquoise tag Z) are just over 18 months old and were two of three birds seen at RSPB Vane Farm last winter. This winter they have been roosting on the Loch Leven islands, making the most of the winter wildfowl. A third bird was electronically tracked on Sunday at the reserve and is thought to be a bird from last year's release. Photo used under Creative Commons licence courtesy of Flickr user Robert tdc.

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