Eric Liang, et al, discuss a change to Spark 2.1 which will make certain partitioned table access faster:
In Spark 2.1, we drastically improve the initial latency of queries that touch a small fraction of table partitions. In some cases, queries that took tens of minutes on a fresh Spark cluster now execute in seconds. Our improvements cut down on table memory overheads, and make the SQL experience starting cold comparable to that on a “hot” cluster with table metadata fully cached in memory.
This looks like a nice improvement in Spark.