If you start a fresh BigIP deployment. Then choose one of the latest version. It would be either:
You may check the release notes of both images here:
For ESX related help, your may check out the setup guide below...
@neeeewbieSadly I don't believe F5 keeps a record of builds that work best as they are suppose to support most/all hypervisor OSs. I think @Kai_Wilke is spot on with his response but I would always recommend going with the latest version 17.0 rather than the latest long-term 188.8.131.52 for a fresh install, especially if patching and upgrading is a long drawn out process where you are. Just make sure you allocate the minimum recommended resources by F5 otherwise when you start provisioning the BIG-IQ it will crash over and over. Sadly the BIG-IQ is not like a normal VM where you can typically scale back the resources significantly without issue.