With increasingly stringent requirements and regulations related to particulate matter(PM) emissions, manufacturers are paying more and more attention to emissions from gasoline direct injection(GDI) engines. The present paper proposes an improved two-step soot model. The model is applied in the Kiva-Chemkin program to simulate the processes of spray impinging, fuel mixture preparation, combustion and soot formation in a typical turbocharged downsized GDI engine. The simulation results show that soot formation in the GDI engine is attributed to non-uniform distribution of the air-fuel mixture and pool fire of wall film in the cylinder. Under homogeneous mode, increasing the injection advance angle can optimize fuel atomization and improve air-fuel mixing, thus reducing soot formation. However, an excessive injection advance angle may cause spray to impinge on the cylinder wall and this will sharply increase the soot emission. Under stratified operation, soot formation can be attributed to combustion of locally fuel-rich mixture. The soot model proposed can satisfactorily predict the trends of soot formation in a GDI engine.