WORD had got out, or maybe it was due to the noise they generated.

But on returning from our road test of the new Aston Martin Vantage and Volante Convertible we were greeted by a small welcome committee.

Some of the Blanchland villagers had comes down to the Lord Crewe Arms, the upmarket hotel that was our base for the day, in the hope of a glimpse of this most British of sportscar brands.

One, a local farmer’s daughter, was a huge fan. Receiving a call from her mother, she dropped everything and came down for a look.

That she not only got to sit in one, but was then given an impromptu passenger ride around the country lanes was beyond her wildest dreams.

The look on her face typified that of most people when in close proximity to a car most readily associated with a certain James Bond. Wide eyes, broad smile and a memory that will last a lifetime.

It’s not hard to see why. Both these cars looked stunning in the Autumnal sunshine, the rays glinting off their bodies.

The Vantage – yours for around £121,000 – is all about poise and purpose. It’s a car that looks ready to pounce – athletic, some would say predatory looking. The short overhangs and muscular rear giving a sense of dynamism.

Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre, 503bhp, twin-turbo V8 mated to an eight-speed gearbox.

At full chat it will get close to the 200mph mark, nought to 60mph appearing in just 3.5 seconds.

It’s proper supercar territory and it’s enough to engender a degree of fear in this 48-year-old who is more used to driving people carriers on the school run or to football training.

Surprisingly though, despite its hair trigger responses, the Vantage is a car that never feels like it’s going to bite you in the behind if you get a little carried away. Don’t get me wrong it’s thrilling to drive – you get a little tingle in your stomach when you hit the gas – but you always feel like you are in charge of it and not vice versa.

The noise from the exhaust – accentuated if you go for the optional four tailpipe format – sounds intergalactic under acceleration, but, refreshingly, dissipates when you reach cruising speed.

The Vantage is equipped with an electronic rear differential, that reacts to your commands, sending the right amount of power to the right wheel and inspiring confidence both on the straight and the through the curves.

It’s expertly finished inside and there’s more room than you might think – it’s certainly not the constricted environment you might associate with some sports cars. In addition, it has a genuinely practical boot. When it comes to cars like this, everything seems to be measured in terms of golf clubs and the Vantage can take two bags plus associated paraphernalia. Assuming you play golf, you are sorted.

If the Vantage is the shouty in your face Aston, then the DB11 Volante, is its slightly more sophisticated sibling.

Don’t get me wrong, it still has a heck of a presence, but it delivers its fun in a more refined and mature manner.

While it's bigger and heavier, it's no slouch, nought to 62mph in 4.1 seconds and on to 187mph. In a three car procession through the Northumberland countryside it kept pace with the Vantage on the straights, but had to play catch-up when encountering bends.

It's less raucous, but still releases a deeply satisfying engine note and on undulating roads, it remained stubbornly planted on terra firma.

At nearly £160,000 before options it's significantly more expensive than the Vantage, the key draw being the convertible roof and additional space for passengers. Though whether you would want to sit in them for any distance is debatable, being more 'bag seats' than back seats, as they were rather cleverly described to me.

If I had the good fortune to be able to choose between the two, it would be the Vantage every time. Unfortunately, like the young lady I mentioned earlier, I remain, for now at least, just a fan.