Because of these performance shortcomings on GCC 4.5, Mozilla is reconsidering their switch to this newest compiler release. At least because Mozilla has an automated benchmarking infrastructure in place, they were able to spot this issue timely themselves rather than waiting for us or others to spot the problem.
Initial thoughts on these major regressions caused by GCC are the Mozilla developers building Firefox with flags for size optimizations rather than speed and possible regressions from code inlining. Mozilla was originally switching to GCC 4.5 due to its newly-introduced plug-in support and the ability to build Firefox with PGO (Profile-Guided Optimizations).
Following the release of GCC 4.5.0 in mid-April we published our own GCC 4.5 benchmarks and GCC vs. Clang/LLVM benchmarks.