The combustion behavior in a modem 4-valve engine using a broad range of methanol/gasoline fuel mixtures was studied. The initial flame development was examined by using a spark plug fiber optics probe. Approximately, the kernel expansion speed, Sg, is relatively unchanged from M0 to M40; jumps by ∼30% from M40 to M60; and then remains roughly constant from M60 to M100. Statistics of the IMEP indicate that at a lean idle condition the combustion rate and robustness correlate with Sg: a higher value of Sg gives better combustion. Thus M60-M100 fuels give better idle combustion behavior than the M0-M40 fuels.