Microsoft has declared that its next generation browser Internet Explorer 9 is faster than current builds of Firefox and Safari 5, with the final platform preview also posting an impressive Acid 3 test score of 95.

IE9 is already causing a stir, with Microsoft throwing its significant weight behind the browser as it faces mounting competition from the likes of Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Mozilla's popular Firefox.

And changes under the bonnet have made Platform Preview 4, the final preview before the browser arrives in beta, a score of 95 in the industry-respected Acid 3 test and a significant hoik in the SunSpider benchmark as well.

Although Microsoft will not be chasing the extra five points – which would involve implementing two minor features that the software giant has already ruled out – Internet Explorer chief Ryan Gavin told TechRadar that IE9 was likely to offer stiff competition, pointing to its latest SunSpider chart.

Faster than Safari 5

"In addition to being faster than all current shipping versions of Firefox we are now faster than Safari 5," said Gavin, who is not a fan of using 'micro benchmarks'.

"Optimising for any one test causes unnatural outcomes," he added.

"People over-generalise around one single test that is not reflective of what web patterns developers are building.

"We have to get out of micro benchmarks and individual tests."

The latest chart, released by Microsoft, of the SunSpider scores show Chrome and Opera ahead of Explorer but only fractionally, with IE9 set to be 11 times faster than its predecessor.

Microsoft has given TechRadar a detailed brief on how the IE9 improvements were made.