To me, the 997 is the "Gold Standard" of 911s these days.
I tried to like the 991 and the 992. I tried. I just don't. The 996 never did it for me. In fact, the 996 was part of the reason I almost never wanted a water cooled Porsche 911. The dash felt pretty cheap. They had a lot of weird issues that needed potential resolution, not all the time, but some of the time. The reputation was just... well... not the greatest. There was a reason it was easy to find them for $20k at one point.
I've historically been a fan of working on the old aircooled cars, and up till recent years, have been a large bit of a purist.
Then one day, I decided to go down to the dealer and look at a potentially new daily. I'd sold the 911 and 914 off some time prior for the Lamborghini, and I've been driving old beaten up 924s for years. I wanted to treat myself. I told the dealer, "I want something in basalt black, and I want it to have the sport pack, should have PSE, and I want a manual, no PDK, no tiptronic, none of that crap. Give me a manual, awesome, down to earth 911 or Cayman S."
The dealership told me as polite as he could that basically "Good luck", since the majority of 911s are now PDK, or tiptronic. On top of this, the features I wanted on them would be next to impossible to find.
One day, about 3 months later, I got a call. "Hey this is Tim, we spoke about a very specific car you were looking for about 3 months ago and.... I think I have that car."
My ears perked up and I was immediately interested. I took my lunch off to go try it out. Sitting there was a beautiful basalt black 997 C4S. PSE. 6 speed. Completely decked out with everything but the X51 package. Took it for a drive and turned the sport mode on and listened to it howl. It had an almost exotic sound to it and it was SO intoxicating. I of course, ended up bringing it home. I sold off all but my first Porsche. I'm down to just this car and my lambo, the 924, and my ducati and honest, it feels good to have so many less vehicles to maintain.