DxOmark published their test results for the Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens - the new version performs significantly better then the old (the price of the new model is also significantly higher: $2,696.95 vs. $1,675). Here is their conclusion:
"So, is the new lens worth it? Yes, it is, this is a good lens. If you want to zoom from a short Tele right up to 400mm this is the best choice you have. However, before you spend your money do look at the quality implications of getting a Nikkor AF-S 70-200 f4G ED VR and a longer prime lens, maybe a 300mm f4. The 70-200 has a DxO Mark score of 28 and sharpness of 21P-MPix, it and a 300mm f4 would still cost less than the 80-400 and might give you better results."