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If I'm fine with doing everything in PowerPivot, aside of future proofing in case I may want to edit queries in the future, are there any reasons to put Power Query buffer in between my data source (SQL) and Power Pivot? Does it make the refresh faster?

I have a bunch of calculated columns in power pivot that I could move to Power Query, but I wasn't sure if the data model will benefit from it.

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Personally I prefer to go via Power Query just for future proofing - I think that is reason enough. With that layer in place, you can do some extreme changes in the PQ layer (e.g. switching source from SQL to files, any kind of data cleansing logic you need) which are often totally disruptive with PP alone.

Note if you are on Excel 2013 and not on automatic updates, there are some updates needed, ref:

http://www.excelguru.ca/blog/2015/10/21/breaking-power-query-via-power-pivot-is-a-thing-of-the-past/

Typically calculated columns in PQ are be easier to write, debug, test, maintain and document, compared to the equivalent in PP.

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