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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…

Business news

Upgraded facility wins glass contract

April 14 2018

Reycling giant Viridor is to process thousands of tonnes of glass waste produced in Tayside at its newly upgraded Scottish plant. The company, part of the FTSE 250-listed Pennon Group and the UK’s largest recycling company in its own right, said its Newhouse facility at Motherwell had secured a new Scottish procurement contract covering five local authorities. A total of 10,500 tonnes of glass products from households in Perth & Kinross, Dundee and Angus as well as from the Borders and West Lothian will be recycled at the facility each year under the terms of the new contract. The £25 million Newhouse site has recently undergone a £1m upgrade to meet the high-quality cullet glass standards required by Scottish bottlemakers as they create new glassware. A proportion of the recycled glass is used to service increased demand for bottles from Scotland’s growing whisky and gin sectors. Viridor said the local authority contract was initially for two years with the potential for a further two one-year extensions. Paul Brown, Viridor’s managing director of recycling and integrated assets, said the contract win was “a significant step in ensuring the company was able to supply the level of feedstock needed by the Scottish remelt sector, especially to address increasing demand in the whisky and gin sector.

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

Readers' letters

September 3: Young football talent always lured south

September 3 2011

Today’s letters to The Courier. Sir,While I appreciate coach Craig Levein”s delight at the number of relatively young players of quality coming through for Scotland, there is a down side which he doesn”t seem to appreciate. Should theses players come through with clubs in Scotland even our two biggest in terms of support their ability is unlikely to be enjoyed for long by followers of the game north of the Border. It is a simple matter of finance. Let a really promising talent emerge and no club in our country can afford to turn down a decent transfer fee offered from England, or anywhere else for that matter. So, unlike days when followers of Rangers and Celtic, Aberdeen or Dundee United, Hearts or Hibs and others could buy a season ticket secure in the knowledge that they would be seeing the same or a similar team over a period of a few seasons, now, if a number of quality players emerge, enjoying their skills is short term. Yes, Scotland and their coach will benefit from the current surge of quality players, but onlookers see national teams “live” only a handful of times a season. By contrast, before our clubs became paupers their supporters could reel off the regular first-team season after season and occupy the terracing secure in the knowledge that their favourite players would be on the park. Now those favourites, should they be of real quality, will be gone in no time and another 100,000 followers a season will depart the game and become television watchers hoping to see Charlie Adams, David Goodwillie and the rest “second hand.”Ian Wheeler,Springfield. A blot on our dear landscape Sir,Sydney has the Opera House, London has Buckingham Palace, Rio de Janeiro has Sugarloaf Mountain, and aspiring city Perth has … White Goods Mountain. It is clearly visible not only from Friarton Bridge but also from another Perth landmark, Kinnoull Hill. A recent US visitor, clearly struck by the shimmering reflection of the sun”s rays on the majestic River Tay flowing far beneath him, asked me with some incredulity: “Is that a junk yard down there?” I was tempted to respond: “Certainly not, that is the recycling plant which is proof of the Scottish nation’s green credentials.” But, sadly, I had to concede that the ugly blot on the landscape was indeed a junk yard. We are informed that it is owned by Viridor and I note from their annual accounts that last year Viridor made a pre-tax profit of £62.9m. Clearly it is more than ideals that drive their business plan. The article seems to present as a positive that waste from all but one of Scotland”s local authorities arrives on a daily basis at the Friarton Road site. I did not have the heart to tell my visitor that outline planning permission had been granted for an incinerator to deal with more of the nation”s waste items. But then again our leaders would not be so foolish to actually let that happen, would they?Roy Mitchell.Barnhill,Perth. Council rose to the bait Sir.With regard to the St Andrews school fiasco, the council should not have been sucked into single party negotiations. The offer of a joint campus was obviously just bait to allow the university to get its hands on the South Street site. The university should perhaps consider that they may not be the only game in town. I wonder what would happen if the council were to place the school on the open market. How would an offer from, let”s say, a luxury golf hotel group compare with the land on offer from the university? The best option is for two schools, one being at the bridgehead. The council may say they cannot afford two schools. Until there is an open market price for South Street, how do they know? George M. Russell.46 Crosshill Terrace,Wormit. They deserve their wings Sir,I was astonished to read Colin Denovan”s letter (August 31) regarding the Airborne Division. His remark that men join the Parachute Regiment “for no other reason but to wear jump wings” I found particularly nasty. They do earn their wings. Parachuting men into action is a means of getting there faster. Once on the ground these men are highly trained infantry. I have served in both The Black Watch and the Parachute Regiment. Victor Herd.Chairman of Parachute Regiment Association,Fowlis Road,Liff. 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.

Perth & Kinross

Cameras explore Perth’s television mountain

April 16 2012

One of Scotland’s biggest TV graveyards has made it on to the small screen. Seen by motorists on the Friarton Bridge, the Viridor site is renowned for its electrical waste mountains. A new documentary series called Too Good to Waste featured Scottish celebrities at the facility to learn more about recycling. Among those taking part were actor Stephen Purdon, better known as Shellsuit Bob from River City, and comedians Fred MacAulay and Des McLean. In the first episode, Purdon and McLean looked at the impact of ”e-waste” at Viridor’s specialist waste electrical and electronic equipment facility at Friarton Road. The centre is responsible for managing e-waste from 96% of Scottish local authorities and 95% of input can be recovered from discarded items. Around 350,000 TVs are left at the site each year. Calling it the ”hardest day’s work of his life”, Purdon said he is motivated to make a renewed effort to reduce his waste. Viridor Scottish communications manager Martin Grey said: ”How we reduce, reuse, recycle then recover renewable energy from waste is rightly important, not only for the environment, but also for individual everyday expenses.” The show is on STV at 8pm on Wednesdays.

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

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.

UK & World

Viridor leading the way in responsible disposal of ‘e-waste’

May 18 2011

The Perth firm which recycles electronics for Scottish local authorities has branded as “unacceptable” the illegal export of electronic waste or e-waste by unscrupulous “underground” companies. Viridor is disgusted that companies continue to send their unwanted items abroad to lie in African “digital graveyards” because it is cheaper than disposing of them legally in the UK. Reports this week suggested that as much as 100,000 tonnes of e-waste the likes of TVs, computers and white goods are shipped from the UK every year in a bid to escape expensive environmental regulations. Around three-quarters of the items find their way to West African dumps where they cause devastating pollution and health problems for the families who eke out a living by scavenging. Viridor’s Scottish regional director Colin Paterson said, “The illegal export of e-waste is unlawful, dangerous and unacceptable, full stop. As in other areas, Viridor has led Scottish investment in a European centre of excellence for the sustainable management of e-waste. “We’re rightly proud of our recycling hub and skilled Scottish workforce. Scottish councils, companies and communities can rest assured of our stringent compliance with local, national and international regulations and to those seeking to cut corners the message is clear illegal e-waste exports won’t pay.” The illicit trade was revealed in the BBC’s Panorama programme on Monday night, with a tracking device placed in a waste television to see where it ended up in this case, a Lagos street market. Viridor named UK Recycling and Waste Management Company of the Year recycles e-waste from 96% of Scottish local authorities at one of Europe’s leading specialist centres for the recycling of electronic equipment in Perth. The company, which has invested over £10 million at the Friarton Road site in recent years, gives new life to some 90% of components arriving on site by, first of all, safely deconstructing electrical items using a combination of the latest recycling technologies with skilled professional operatives. The Scottish site has recycled over 350,000 televisions in the last year a 60% year-on-year increase as Scots upgraded for the digital switchover and 230,000 fridges. The site employs nearly 100 people.Watch Panorama: Track My Trash on BBC iPlayer.

Perth & Kinross

Perth recycling centre blaze

March 8 2016

Firefighters tackled a blaze at a Perth recycling centre. Crews were alerted at 9.17pm after a fire alarm was set off at Viridor Collection Services, in the Friarton Business Park. Industrial processing machinery had caught fire. There were no reports of any injuries.