What discs are you burning?
Older media? Yeah, the older drives do better. Newer media? The older a drive, the less likely it supports newer media...
Besides, media support & write quality varies too much from drive to drive to say that a newer DVDRW or BDRE drive will always fare worse than one of the last CDRW drives. For example, LiteOn had variable CD write quality from generation to generation of its DVDRW drives, though some of its early 52x drives could do a better job. (The later 52x CDRW drives they did weren't of a decent quality). Meanwhile, Optiarc, Samsung, and Pioneer had at least one or two drives a couple of years back with fairly good writing quality.
Long story short, no, there is no guarantee that a newer drive will do any better or worse than an older dedicated CDRW drive (or DVDRW drive, for that matter). It all depends on the variables, as cholla stated.