I drove the Spyder in Italy on its international launch earlier this year and liked it. It was fast and sonorous, a little bit gristly - in a good way - and looked fantastic.
I said so at the time, but honestly, by the time our Handling Day shootout came around, the memory of it was overshadowed by the extraordinary nature of its first cousin, the Cayman GT4, which came with downforce at both ends and all manner of trick chassis items.
The Boxster doesn’t get these. It’s on the same suspension as the GTS, albeit with a beefed-up anti-roll bar. It also doesn’t have the convenience of a roof or even a button that provides one. The switch on the centre console merely unlatches the hood; you do all the fiddly manual labour yourself. But it does have the same 3.8-litre flat six plundered from the 911, and with 370bhp and 310lb ft, it’s easily the most powerful Boxster yet.
It wasn’t until last month, though, and a convertible group test to the Isle of Skye, that the combination really took hold. Somewhere between Keswick and Loch Lomond, somewhere deserted and dramatic, the Spyder hunkered down, opened its lungs and blew me away.
Not because it’s very quick or loud or stirring - although it is - but because every single individual thing it does feels as though it’s in total mechanical harmony with everything else it’s doing. Driving it is like listening to Dire Straits: as if the melody were coming from an impeccable solitary source rather than four or five fallible blokes.
And because of that, because the steering, the ride, the handling, the engine, the gearbox and the noise are all so spectacularly perfect, the experience came with a distinctly bittersweet edge. And that’s because next year, of course, Porsche will reach into the Boxster and carefully remove some of its soul.
I’ve no doubt its replacement, the turbocharged four-pot 718, will be brilliant, but that didn’t stop the Spyder feeling like something of a swansong; especially with the flat-six chatter bouncing back at me from the rocks on Applecross. Best car of the year? Well, let’s put it this way: I wouldn’t have exchanged it at that moment for anything else in the world.