In order to improve the fuel economy for future high-efficiency spark ignition engines, the use of advanced combustion strategies with an overall lean and/or exhaust gas recirculation diluted cylinder charge is deemed to be beneficial, provided a reliable ignition process available. In this paper, experimental results of igniting methane-air mixture by means of capacitive coupled ignition and multi-coil distributed spark ignition are presented. It is found that with a conventional spark plug electrode configuration, increase of spark energy does not proportionally enhance the ignition flame kernel development. The use of capacitive coupled ignition to enhance the initial transient power resulted in faster kernel growth compared to the conventional system. The distribution of the spark energy across a number of spark gaps shows considerable benefit. The multi-coil distributed spark ignition with multiple low energy sparks produces faster early flame kernel growth than that of a single high energy spark with the same amount of total energy.