This work was concerned with study of the in-cylinder flow field and flame development in a spark ignition research engine equipped with Bowditch piston optical access. High-speed natural light (or chemiluminescence) imaging and simultaneous in-cylinder pressure data measurement and analysis were used to understand the fundamentals of flame propagation for a variety of ethanol fuels blended with either gasoline or iso-octane. PIV was undertaken on the same engine at a horizontal imaging plane close to TDC (10 mm below the fire face) throughout the compression stroke (30,60,90,120,160,180 bTDC) for a low load engine operating condition at 1500rpm/0.5 bar inlet plenum pressure.. Up to 1500 cycles were considered to determine the ensemble average flow-field and turbulent kinetic energy, which was then compared to CFD results. Finally, comparisons were made between the flame and flow experiments to understand the apparent interactons. The results revealed the relative influence of the bulk air motion on the overall development of the propagating kernel, with a tendency noted for the flame to migrate towards the hotter exhaust side of the engine despite no apparent complimentary bulk air motion in this direction in the two dimensional plane studied.