The xf86-video-intel 2.17 release isn't going to be terribly exciting, since much of the interesting developments happen within Intel's kernel DRM and Mesa components, but there are a couple of fixes in this upcoming driver.
The bugs fixed by this xf86-video-intel 2.16.901 (2.17 RC1) release are working around a blitter hang for Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge hardware, pipe control issues on Sandy Bridge, correcting the maximum PS thread count for Ivy Bridge, and protecting against failed pixmap allocations for X-Video. That's about it. There's also a horde of various SNA-related work for those building the Intel DDX with --enable-sna to take advantage of 2D/3D performance increases while not being scared away by possible visual bugs.
When looking at the 2.16.901 release announcement, there's 252 changes from Chris Wilson alone. Most of these changes deal with the Sandy Bridge New Acceleration (SNA) work that he has been spearheading.
The final release of xf86-video-intel 2.17.0 is likely a few weeks away. It will hopefully be in good shape for Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge hardware seeing as this will likely be the Intel DDX version to be employed by Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and other early 2012 Linux distribution releases. As mentioned earlier this month, Intel is working on a new release cycle for their Linux driver stack.
Outside of the DDX developments, Intel OSTC developers have been improving VA-API support, trying to finish OpenGL 3.0 support in Mesa, improving the DRM performance, and increasing power-savings, among other work.