(Big nod of thanks to Mat Stephen for finding this.)
Rob Garrison has done and documented performance tests comparing SQL 2000 and a beta of SQL 2005 in his “OLTP Drag Races” post. Guess what the result was? SQL 2005 is faster! Even in beta.
So you know it will be faster when it ships. (I can’t wait!) And as Rog points out; yes, new features are cool, but really, “speed is king”.