My experience of actually using the touchBar MacBook Pro on a day-to-day basis for the past month does not match your worries.
I upgraded from a 2016 MacBook Pro and the increase in performance is noticeable. There are many improvements under the hood – most noticeable is a big increase in SSD performance. That makes a large and noticeable difference when the machine is under load – which is most of the time for me. Given I notice the new machine is faster than then 2016 MacBook Pro, I’m very confident you would notice it faster than the Air.