More stories related to 2005 Greater L.A. Auto Show Chrysler Group’s Dodge brand takes center stage at the Greater Los Angeles International Auto Show with the introduction of its performance-oriented ’06 Magnum SRT8.

While sharing its overall shape with other members of the Magnum family, the SRT8 has some distinguishing features, including a unique front and rear fascia, larger exhaust tips, 20-in. wheels and tires and a body-colored spoiler.

Designers also made some tweaks to the interior of the Magnum SRT8 to separate it from its more pedestrian siblings.

“The interior will be enhanced with deeply bucketed seats in the front and rear to give it a more sporting and performance flavor,” says Trevor Creed, senior vice president-design, Chrysler Group.

’06 Dodge Magnum SRT8

Other unique interior features include red piping on the sport seats, carbon-fiber-like patterned leather trim on the steering wheel, as well as a special carbon-fiber treatment on the center stack and a 180-mph (300 -km/h) speedometer.

But what really separates the Magnum SRT8 from the rest of the Magnum family is what’s found under the hood: The all-new 6.1L Hemi V-8.

Producing 25% more power than the highly acclaimed 5.7L Hemi found in the 300C and Magnum RT, this engine pumps out 425 hp at 6,000 rpm and 420 lb.-ft. (569 Nm) at 4,800 rpm.

Chrysler says its 69.8-hp-per-liter performance exceeds that of the original ’66 Street Hemi engine.

“It was the logical engine for this vehicle,” says Dan Knott, director, Street and Racing Technology-Chrysler Group. “It takes off on the Hemi legend and takes it to the next logical place. I like to say we injected SRT steroids into that engine. This is the best-performing naturally aspirated engine we’ve ever come out with.”

Chrysler’s engineering team extensively reworked the Hemi engine to meet the requirements of the SRT moniker. The team paid close attention to Dodge’s racing experience when developing the engine.

The basic, deep-skirted engine block structure was redesigned completely with reinforced bulkheads to handle higher loads. The SRT team also expanded the bore diameter of each cylinder by 0.1 in. (3.5) mm to boost total displacement to 6.1L.

Several additional modifications were made to reduce weight, while improving performance.

“For light weight and better valvetrain dynamics, the intake valves are hollow,” says Knott. “For better heat transfer and light weight, the exhaust valves are hollow and sodium filled, which is a bit of a racer trick to get better heat transfer.”

Oil squirters, aimed at the underside of each piston, were added to aid in piston cooling for improved durability. Larger-diameter, flat-top pistons with high-load capability were developed to handle the 6.1L’s compression ratio, which was increased to 10.3:1 from 9.6:1.

The connecting rods also were redesigned and use a higher-strength powder metal material, while new floating piston pins are introduced to handle the higher loads.

The cylinder-head ports were designed with larger cross-sectional areas, allowing for an 11% greater flow in the intake ports and a 13% improved flow in the exhaust ports.

“We really went after this engine from the ground up to develop a high-performance engine that will really carry the SRT name, and the Dodge name, to the next, most extreme level,” Knott says.

The ’06 Magnum SRT8 goes into production at Chrysler’s Brampton, Ont., Canada, plant in second-quarter 2005.

kekelly@primediabusiness.com