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What is the best way to define a parametric model with custom variables?

I'm trying to create a parametric model of a Motor/Prop/ESC combination that I can easily be included in many other models (e.g. quadcopters and the like). I want to specify common parameters (basic dimensions, performance qualities) and then use those parameters to automatically create the geometry, then run plugins to model the physics (applied force/torque, power consumption, noise, etc...) based on those parameters.

My question is, what is the best way to do this?

Is there some way to define a new element type so that you can define the model the same way you can define primitives such as a box? <model> <my_model> <param1> value </param1> . . </my_model> </model>

Or, is it better to just define a custom plugin to spawn the model geometry and any custom physics based on that geometry?