Meeting future exhaust emission and fuel consumption standards for passenger cars will require refinements in how the combustion process is carried out in spark ignition engines. A direct injection system reduces fuel consumption under road load cruising conditions, and stratified charge of the air-fuel mixture is particularly effective for lean combustion.This paper describes an approach to improve combustion stability for direct fuel injection gasoline engines. Effects of spray characteristics (spray pattern and diameter) and air flow motion on the combustion stability were investigated. Spray patterns were observed by the laser sheet scattering method and 3-dimensional laser doppler velocimetry. Mixture behavior in the combustion chamber was observed by the laser-induced fluorescence method using an excimer laser and single cylinder optical engine. It was found that the spray pattern for a pressurized condition affects the combustion stability and smoke generation. Spray having both high and low speed particles leads to mixture stratification around the spark plug and reduced the fuel impingement on the piston cavity. The engine test results showed improvement of combustion stability and smoke reduction under lean operation.