Dodge’s ’08 Viper SRT10 lineup promises breathtaking performance thanks to advancements that allow its new 600-hp V-10 to gulp air more efficiently and cleanly.

Available as a roadster or coupe, the revamped Viper will debut Jan. 9 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But when Chrysler Group pulls the sheet off its high-performance flagship, its dramatically enlarged hood louvers and redesigned hood scoop only begin to tell the story.

The taller, wider scoop improves induction while the more expansive louvers provide superior cooling capacity – two functions that have greater significance considering what lies beneath.

The ’08 Viper’s engine features a displacement of 8.4L, up from the previous model’s 8.3L. Backed by McLaren Performance Technologies and Ricardo Inc., Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology personnel engineered new cylinder heads featuring high-precision CNC-shaped combustion chambers and larger valves that benefit from variable valve timing.

Air flow is further enhanced by a 2-piece intake manifold that consists of a cast aluminum lower and a die-cast aluminum upper plenum. The air-cleaner box has been redesigned to take advantage of a low-restriction filter that serves the intake module via a dual electronic throttle control.

Platinum-tipped spark plugs are fired by individual coils – another new feature – which are mounted on the cylinder-head covers. And tubular air-gap headers speed up exhaust light-off for improved catalyst performance.

So not only will the ’08 Viper jump from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 4 seconds, its emissions will comply with Washington’s Tier 2, Bin 5 requirements as well as California’s LEV 2 standards.

With peak torque bumped up to 560 lb.-ft. (759 Nm), there is need for increased stiffness and durability. Chrysler steps up to the challenge with pressed-in iron cylinder liners, cross-bolted main bearing caps, bronze bushings and forged powder-metal connecting rods secured with aircraft-quality fasteners.

The previous Viper’s engine generated 500 hp and 535 lb.-ft. (725 Nm) of torque.

Kipp Owen, director-SRT engineering, promises greater refinement through new hardware such as a smaller-diameter, dual-disc clutch that reduces rotating inertia by 18%. This reduction manifests itself in a more pliable clutch pedal.

The new Tremec TR6060 6-speed manual transmission replaces the T-56 and features gears that are 10% wider to handle the increased torque, and a new synchronizer package. Chrysler also promises Viper’s shifter will have a shorter throw.

The 14-in. (36 cm) Brembo brakes, with dual opposing piston calipers in front and dual opposing calipers in the rear, will bring Viper from 60 mph (97 km/h) to a stop in less than 100 ft. (3 m).

Dana Corp. supplies the rear axle, which features GKN’s Visco-Lok speed-sensing limited-slip differential for better traction.

As with the ’06 model, the new Viper rides on a 4-wheel independent suspension featuring high-performance control arms and knuckles. Damping comes courtesy of coil-over-shock setup.

Wheels are 18 ins. in front and 19 ins. in the rear.

Meanwhile, Chrysler takes a new approach to customization by offering five colors and a wide variety of bezel finishes on the instrument panel and console.

Historically, such treatments were the domain of dealers and the aftermarket. With the spring rollout of the ’08 Viper, buyers can have their choice of equipment installed at Chrysler’s Conner Ave. Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the car is hand-built.

“We’re going to take that all in-house, so we put the money in our pocket,” Owen says.

Chrysler will reveal pricing closer to the production launch.

emayne@wardsauto.com