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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

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.


Polar explorer given special access to legend’s RRS Discovery cabin

December 5 2017

A cabin inhabited by one of the country’s most intrepid explorers on his way to the South Pole opened its doors to a modern day Antarctic adventurer on Monday. Wendy Searle is preparing to set off on an exploratory mission to the bottom of the planet, following in the footsteps of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of Dundee’s most famous ship RRS Discovery. The brave adventurer and her team will drag all of their supplies, food and equipment by sled across 400 miles of frozen plains toward the South Pole, just as the Discovery’s plucky crew did more than a century ago. And as if that wasn’t daunting enough, Wendy and her modern crew will cross uncharted territory in the tundra, climbing an as-yet-unconquered Transantarctic mountain glacier on their journey to the pole. Her journey will begin at the Ross ice shelf, before ascending the previously unclimbed peak and crossing the Titan Dome along the way. Wendy hopped aboard Scott’s historic vessel on Monday, where she was invited to view Shackleton’s quarters as well as producing her own edition of the South Polar Times – the magazine created by the crew of the Discovery to help the men while away the stormy winter months spent locked in the ice. Its pages were filled with letters, articles and illustrations which kept the crew amused in the harsh climes of the antarctic continent. Wendy said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to write my own South Polar Times entry and I’m delighted to be working with Dundee Heritage Trust on this project. “I’m especially interested in what the experience of sailing to the bottom of the world and overwintering in a tiny hut would have been like as a woman.” Ali Gellatly, education officer at Dundee Heritage Trust, said: “Wendy will be adding her own lines to polar history and this is a very special way for her to start that journey. “We opened Shackleton’s cabin especially for this visit.”

Angus & The Mearns

Revellers pack out venues for Brechin Music Festival

September 2 2013

Music fans filled out the pubs and venues of Brechin for the town’s first music festival at the weekend. More than 35 acts took to different stages across the weekend after months of planning. Bookings finally came to fruition for organisers Graeme Strachan, Wendy Coutts, Hazel Coutts, Charlie Cameron and Chris Black. What started as a simple post on Facebook has developed into the latest major event to take place in Brechin and across Angus as crowds flocked to the town to sample the inaugural event. Lovers of indie music were transported back to the late 1980s and 1990s as the Complete Stone Roses kicked off the event with a barnstorming set in the City Hall on Friday night. Alpha Helix, Fubar and Sanctuary lit up the outdoor stage on Clerk Street on the Saturday, while entertainment was also laid on for the younger festival goers. Bands such as Emerald Sunday, Gav Hegde and Lochnagar performed throughout the day and night. The event drew to a close with Survivor Sunday for the dedicated fans who managed to last the pace.


Just champion – Fife black pudding wins top title

May 10 2016

It’s a red letter day for Fife black pudding experts. For butchers Watsons of Leven have been crowned this year’s Scottish black pudding champions after winning the final judged under the leadership of Wendy Barrie of the Scottish Food Guide. As East of Scotland champions, Watson’s black pudding was mystery shopped and tested against the other regional champs from Hawick, Dingwall, Largs and Wemyss Bay. Head judge Wendy said: “Five black puddings, they were delicious puddings and it wasn’t easy to decide. “We revisited some of them, we cooked some more samples and we take it very very seriously, our black puddings. “We did get a clear winner in the end.” The deciding factor was a combination, balance with texture and taste with no one thing overwhelming anything else. “It is a culmination of factors and it has to look good so that it appeals to the consumer,” she added. Wendy said the five finalists were all very different, but all had something which was “rather appealing”. “The Watsons black pudding was a delicious exemplar of its kind and I think will sit very well on a British and world plate.”


Snow hits Courier Country as storm Conor passes through

December 26 2016

Heavy snow has fallen on some areas of Perthshire and Fife after the Met office issued a yellow warning for the white stuff. Some roads have been rendered nearly impassable, with the A9 among those hit. On the A9 a tanker jack-knifed in the Drumochter Pass, coming to rest in a ditch. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); A9 Drumochter best to avoid folks, more to come this afternoon.Thanks to Katie McLeod for the pics.The good news is… Posted by Highland & Islands Weather on Monday, 26 December 2016 The accident happened just south of Dalwhinnie shortly before 11.40pm.   VIDEO: Courier photographer battles the elements   A police spokeswoman said the tanker driver was unhurt as a result and that there was nothing inside the tanker at the time. There was also a number of non-injury crashes on the M90. High wind warnings are also in place on the Tay Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge. Met Office duty forecaster Matt Roe said: “It’s pretty windy elsewhere. We’ve got around 60mph on the west coast. Elsewhere, it’s a pretty blustery day, up to around 40mph, maybe 50mph. © DC ThomsonThe Glenshee ski centre on Boxing Day. “We’ve got some fairly heavy showers too and these are falling as snow across central and northern parts of Scotland. There are some fairly heavy snow showers across the Highlands as well. https://www.facebook.com/snowupdate2016/videos/1340076099357035/ “It’s basically a cold, windy day across Scotland with a mix of everything. There’s frequent lightning as well with some of those showers in the north.” The Boxing Day snow came after one of the warmest Christmas Days ever. Dyce in Aberdeenshire recorded a temperature of 15.1C, just below the record of 15.6C (60F) registered in Devon in 1920.


Help us tackle loneliness — share your stories of kindness

March 13 2017

Loneliness and isolation affect thousands of people, young and old, and can lead to serious illnesses including depression, stress, low self-esteem and alcoholism. In fact, one study found that isolation is more of a risk factor for disease than smoking and obesity. That’s why we’ve launched The Courier Community Kindness Campaign. We’re aiming to tackle loneliness and isolation across Tayside – and we hope you’ll join in. Wendy Forouhar, executive director of Dundee Association for Mental Health said: “We know from experience that people in our communities who are experiencing challenges with their mental health are also likely to experience loneliness and isolation, and a friendly face or a nice gesture can make a big difference.” “The feedback we get from those who use our volunteer befriending and support services highlights how a little bit of friendly contact can help to improve their confidence and wellbeing and reduce feelings of isolation.” David McNeil, head of Recovery North at Help for Heroes, knows from talking to the veterans that the charity supports that social isolation and loneliness is a major problem. “Holding out the hand of friendship and offering something as simple as a newspaper or a cup or tea can make a real difference to someone struggling with life-changing injuries or illness, including mental health issues like depression, anxiety or PTSD,” he adds. So – can you help us extend the hand of kindness? We want to know about the times someone went the extra mile to help you when you needed it. Please complete the form below to help us show the power of kindness. (function(b,o,n,u,s){var a,t;a=b.createElement(u);a.async=1;a.src=s;t=b.getElementsByTagName(u)[0];t.parentNode.insertBefore(a,t);o[n]=o[n]||[]}) (document,window,'_qual_async','script','//player.qualifio.com/kit/qualp.2.min.js'); _qual_async.push(['createIframe', 'qualifio_shortcode_output_6650169f9e5b48e203b100fc692e6226', 'player.qualifio.com', '20', 'DCABDA1B-D3C2-CB04-5595-D060E593973C', '100%', '1200', '', '', '', 'max-width:670px;margin:0 auto;']);