Emission control requirements and the desire for improved fuel economy have led to many studies concerned with improving combustion chamber design, fuel metering, and ignition. This paper describes an experimental programmable ignition system based on a new principle of operation. The ignition system provides for electronically controlled changes in spark duration, spark current level, and restriking rate. The ignition system also combines a very fast risetime with a controlled duration. Extensive multicylinder engine dynamometer test data are presented which indicate that improved ignition can be of benefit at marginal engine operating points.