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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


Death of a Salesman, Dundee Rep, February 22-March 11

February 17 2017

Building dreams out of nothing is just one of the powerful themes of Arthur Miller’s emotionally intense Death of a Salesman, the first of Dundee Rep Ensemble’s Stars and Stripes themed season. Widely considered to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th Century,  Death of a Salesman was the recipient of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. Almost 70 years on, the iconic play, directed by Dundee Rep’s associate artistic director Joe Douglas, is as popular with audiences as ever, taking them on a journey through the highs and lows of the so-called American dream. Willy Loman, played by Ensemble regular Billy Mack, has provided for his family all his life. With “a smile and a shoeshine” he has taken on the world and won. As he approaches his declining years, he’s forced to face his demons: what is left of a salesman when he can’t get a sale? The personal tragedy of the Loman family is given new life in this innovative new production. Joe Douglas explains: “In this production we attempt to break from the naturalism which can often overcome the play. The design is more representational, rather than being set in the Loman’s house, with the live musical score by Nikola Kodjabashia live on stage providing a surreal quality that allows us to see into Willy Loman’s mind. “The idea of dreams going up in smoke and the Loman’s grubbing for their future in the dirt loom large.” In rehearsal. Joe explains why the story of Death of a Salesman still appeals to audiences almost 70 years after it was written. “The title has taken on almost mythical status. So many people have studied it or are familiar with the story, even if they’ve never actually seen a production of it,” he says. “The play was hugely successful when it was first produced. It arrived just after the Second World War, when the cultural and economic influence of the USA was really taking off internationally, especially in Britain. “Seventy years on, we’re still trying to work out our route through the brutality and dreams that capitalism can impose on the little people.” “I’m losing count of folk telling me it’s their favourite play, so you don’t want to spoil it for them,” Joe smiles. “Personally, I’ve been frustrated in previous productions by the naturalistic design elements. The dirt always seemed more important to me, building dreams out of nothing. “And if the play offers greater perspective on mental health problems and how effective communication can help, then that’s a positive thing too.” www.dundeerep.co.uk  

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.

Dundee United

Dundee United 0 Inverness 2: Tangerines booed off after dismal home defeat

October 21 2017

Dundee United slumped to their second successive Championship defeat after being comprehensively beaten by Inverness at Tannadice. Caley who started the day second bottom of the league table, opened the scoring through Iain Vigurs and then added a second before half-time thanks to Connor Bell. Caley were by far the better side and fully deserved their victory while there were few in a tangerine shirt deserving of pass marks. Dundee United boss Ray McKinnon made two changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Livingston last week with Sam Stanton and Lewis Toshney coming in for Billy King and the injured Jordie Briels. There was a welcome return to the bench for Tam Scobbie and Scott Fraser. Former United defender Coll Donaldson was in the Inverness starting line-up along with ex-Dundee striker John Baird. The Highland outfit had a gilt-edged opportunity in just the fifth minute when Liam Polworth swung a free-kick in from the right with Carl Tremarco finding space and time in the home box but he directed his header straight at Tangerines keeper Harry Lewis. The United defence was posted missing in action again shortly after when Polworth flighted a corner in from the right with Baird having a free header which he sent over the bar. McKinnon’s men had their first chance of the match in the 17th minute. James Keatings was brought crashing down in a challenge by Brad McKay who earned himself a booking from ref Willie Collum. Keatings picked himself up and hit a superb 20-yard free-kick which Inverness keeper Mark Ridgers acrobatically palmed away for a corner. However, it was Caley who took the lead in the 28th minute. Polworth again sent a corner in from the right with Willo Flood attempting to head clear. Unfortunately, he only found Vigurs who hit a rising shot from just inside the box past Lewis with what looked like the help of a deflection off a home defender. The Tangerines almost replied instantly when Scott McDonald hit a snap shot inside the Inverness penalty area but Ridgers produced a superb save to deny the striker. Things then went from bad to worse for the Tangerines in the 37th minute when Caley doubled their advantage. Polworth sent Jake Mulraney scampering down the right with a great pass and he hit the byeline before cutting the ball across goal to Bell at the back post for a simple tap-in. Caley had another great chance to extend their lead even further in the 56th minute when Tremarco again found space in the Tangerines’ box but Lewis made a vital block to keep out his shot. On the hour mark, McKinnon withdrew Paul McMullan for Stewart Murdoch with defender Mark Durnan being pressed into service as a centre-forward. However, Caley continued to look comfortable in defence and dangerous on the break and successfully saw out the game to take all three points with the final whistle being greeted with a deafening barrage of boos from the home support.


Dog owner gets reunited with lost pet thanks to appeal in The Courier

March 13 2014

A devastated dog owner’s heartbreak turned to joy after she was reunited with her precious pooch thanks to an appeal in The Courier. Jack Russell cross Millie went missing during a walk with Perthshire woman Ray Brass, who was holidaying in Elie. Ms Brass searched for two days for Millie but could not find her. As a result, she was forced to return home to Abernethy without her beloved four-legged friend. Recalling how the two became separated, she said: “I was walking with Millie on Kincraig Cliffs at Elie when I lost her after she chased deer down the cliff. “I searched for two days for her and was broken-hearted having to come home without her.” Fortunately Millie was found almost six miles from where she went missing, wandering along the coastal road near Lower Largo, by local woman Karen Allan. Mrs Allan then contacted The Courier to appeal for her owner to come forward. An overjoyed Ms Brass was contacted by friends who saw the article and she was later reunited with Millie. “I cannot thank the Allan family enough for returning my wee dog,” she said. “I would also like to thank The Courier for their help in bringing us back together.”

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


Dundee has a new Oor Wullie statue and it’s already people’s favourite place for a photo

March 5 2016

Saturday saw the unveiling of a new sculpture of Scotland’s favourite schoolboy Oor Wullie and it didn’t take long for people to vote him a hit. The bronze work was commissioned to celebrate the 80th anniversary of his debut in The Sunday Post, and his position outside the McManus Galleries in the city centre meant people were soon stopping to have their photo taken with “A’body’s Wullie”. Laura McMenemy shared this photo of a would-be Wullie. Dave Tipping said: “The wee man loved sitting on his bucket this afternoon!” Photos are also being shared on Twitter. DC Thomson hinted at what was to come, before sharing photos of the unveiling ceremony. Something exciting is happening in Dundee this afternoon…#oorwullie80 pic.twitter.com/k63HL6wXMU — DC Thomson (@DC_Thomson) March 5, 2016 And here he is, Oor Wullie is all his bronze glory #oorwullie80 pic.twitter.com/2qB3Sg4MIJ — DC Thomson (@DC_Thomson) March 5, 2016 Oor Wullie with the Lord Provost #oorwullie80 pic.twitter.com/2tOSabtQsS — DC Thomson (@DC_Thomson) March 5, 2016 Eric was also there to see the unveiling. Wullie's big reveal. #oorwullie #Dundee #mcmanusgalleries pic.twitter.com/tfdJ6S8qKu — Barry S (@Bananaman80) March 5, 2016 And the McManus seems particularly pleased with its new feature. #OorWullie has just been unveiled outside The McManus and looks fantastic. #Dundee #Scotla… https://t.co/KtGSLhO6Yh pic.twitter.com/AAoQShfhi9 — The McManus (@McManusDundee) March 5, 2016 From #OorWullie to Rabbie Burns just outside the museum #Dundee #mcmanusdundee https://t.co/tVzVLnMu1J pic.twitter.com/DQ35RiUHu5 — The McManus (@McManusDundee) March 5, 2016 Oor Wullie, Your Wullie, A'bodys Wullie pic.twitter.com/YkkRlggmbO — The McManus (@McManusDundee) March 5, 2016 An enterprising local restaurant even decided to find out if Wullie had a taste for pizza. All things Scottish & Pizza! @DC_Thomson unveils iconic character today @McManusDundee. A big welcome #oorwullie ? pic.twitter.com/2WO23IrBk7 — Project Pie Pizzeria (@projectpieuk) March 5, 2016 Greig Stott took this wonderful set of photos, and also posted this video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=HQS6Mz19MhU%3Frel%3D0%26controls%3D0%26showinfo%3D0 If you want to share your photos, use the tag #oorwullie80. See full coverage of the statue project in The Sunday Post this weekend, and you can find a whole range of special Broons and Oor Wullie at 80 keepsakes at the DC Thomson online shop.

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.

Readers' letters

Waste has to be dumped somewhere

April 9 2013

Sir, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie argues that Rosyth, although willing to accrue the alleged “economic benefit” of Westminster’s nuclear submarines, “shouldn’t be expected to tolerate the burden of a nuclear waste site on their doorstep”. Although I agree with Mr Rennie that the safety of the people of Rosyth must be paramount, where else does he propose that the nuclear waste be dumped? On the doorstep of another Scottish town? Amidst the natural beauty of unspoilt Scottish countryside? It will have to be dumped somewhere. As long as the UK Government squanders taxpayers’ cash on such morally dubious and potentially hazardous nuclear technologies including £100 billion on the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons stationed merely 40 kilometres from our largest city significant amounts of dangerous, toxic waste will necessarily have to be dumped on Scotland’s doorstep. The only way to avoid the problem of dealing with nuclear waste is, quite simply, to cease producing it. Given Westminster’s inane infatuation with militaristic vanity projects, this is unachievable without a Yes vote in 2014. With the powers of an independent nation, Scotland will no longer be an impotent spectator in her own home as its natural beauty is defaced and its values debased by Westminster vandals. David Kelly. 17 Highfields, Dunblane. They’re putting this “majesty” at risk Sir, It was with interest and a certain amount of incredulity that I read John Swinney’s comments in Friday’s paper. He has the audacity to talk of walking through the “majesty of the county of Angus the great historic houses like Glamis, the beauty of the glens and the coastline”. He is perfectly correct in stating that Angus contains many beautiful views and a magnificent coastline but all of this is being put at risk through his party’s determination to meet “green” energy targets through an unproven method of production ie wind turbines. If he has any proof of the success rate he envisages through these monstrosities then I would be glad to hear them. I would also to hear when the people of the majestic country he is spoiling by erecting them can expect to benefit by receiving lower electric bills. Willie Robertson. Forest Park Cottage, Lynton, Stanley, Perthshire. Saved 28%, wrecked 72% Sir, So that nice Mr Salmond has decided to spare 28% of Scotland’s wild land from windfarms! He could still be the Scot who is remembered for wrecking the landscape and wildlife of the remaining 72% of one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It would take 16,000 large onshore turbines to meet Scotland’s present peak demand,not to mention the essential back-up. Also, the God of renewables is extremely greedy, and few industries could remain competitive with such high electricity prices, or consumers stay out of fuel poverty. The chancellor is already having to exempt certain manufacturing industries from the climate change levy. Stephen Grieve. 60 Nethergate, Crail. Biomass claim simply not true Sir, Your reporter’s claim (April 6) that Courier readers have given their backing to a biomass plant at the harbour could not be further from the truth. From a small sample size of 102, only 45 respondents agreed that Dundee port is a good site for a biomass plant. In contrast, 3,274 written letters of objection from local residents were received by the Scottish Government when this incinerator was initially proposed in 2010. The article also fails to mention that Forth Energy’s revised report states that 12,748 people would be affected by increased levels of nitrogen dioxide if this plant is approved. NHS Tayside expressed concern in December 2010 about this plant subjecting even small populations to increases in pollution levels. The article also highlights the fact that road traffic is a major contributor to the nitrogen dioxide problems in the Stannergate area, but it fails to mention the fact that an additional 20,000 HGV movements in and out of the port area each year would be experienced if the plant is approved, leading to further increases in NO2 levels. The article also features an artist’s impression of the plant. It fails to highlight the fact that the chimney would be almost twice the height of Tayside House and would be the first thing to catch the eye of any visitor coming to Dundee. Why bother having a design competition for the V&A when tourists’ attention will be drawn towards the enormous incinerator on the other side of the bridge? Is this really what Courier readers want in our city? N. McLean. Primrose Bank, Dundee.