What an incredible car.
The Porsche dealer recommended I keep it simple for my first 997 experience, so a low mileage, non 4WD, base engine with Auto (so the missus could drive) second hand unit. Their approach was to keep it pure (auto withstanding). I will be eternally grateful as a result, the car was bought unseen, being traded from an enthusiast who was first in line for the next generation/shape, but who always kept it simple/pure. With the keys, they handed over a collection of their favorite music for Sunday speed driving and I admit, the soundtrack suited the engine note perfectly.
– Engine; perfect. Not overly powerful but begged to be revved, perfectly balanced and fantastic flexibility, so responsive and predictable.
– Suspension; amazing for a sports car. Compliant and forgiving. I could drive for hours on freeways. Only road noise became tiring.
– Handling; smaller tires so it could bite hard if you pushed but it taught you to balance the vehicle and avoid engaging electronic stability controls. Round-a-bouts in the wet remained interesting though.
– Interior; 2+2 seats so I could do the school run and enough luggage space for school bags (think original VW beetle with less head room).
– Connectivity; for its age it was fine.
– Price and features; awesome value for what it provided and manufacturer warranty as it was in great condition.
– Reliability/quality; perfect and felt unbreakable. Mind you I would be concerned pushing the manufacturer warranty should something significant occur.
Overall, for the price of an RS3 or A45, apologies but I would not look at these and go straight for the iconic 911 (used) at similar dollars every time.