The Type 97 lacked a telepathic relationship with its pilot, a fact that filled the Doctor with disgust. To him it felt different and alien, and he was against using it because after years of telepathic rapport, his Type 40 was "an old friend." Time Lady Serena thought a telepathic relationship with a TARDIS was "sentimental nonsense" and compared his to an old relic. Serena controlled the TARDIS during the mission, but the Doctor observed how she worked.
This type of TARDIS also possessed a fully functioning chameleon circuit and a completely different console configuration. The Time Vector Generator was strangely shaped and placed in the centre, and would dematerialise with a pleasant, crooning sound. During the Doctor's mission, it took on the shape of a fountain, a pavilion and a clock. Serena changed the interior at the Doctor's request into an 18th-century tea room.
Sardon and Serena did not understand the Doctor's distaste for the newer, improved TARDIS. He claimed they were "soulless" after piloting one, and that there was no "real rapport." (PROSE: World Game)