An experimental study of the effects of thin ceramic thermal barrier coatings on the performance of a spark-ignited gasoline engine was conducted. A modified 2.5 liter GM engine with ceramic-coated pistons, liners, head, valves and ports was used. Experimental results obtained from the ceramic engine were compared with baseline metal engine data. It was shown that at low-speed part-load conditions encountered in typical driving cycles the ceramic engine could achieve up to 18% higher brake power and up to 10% lower specific fuel consumption. At wide open throttle conditions, the two engines exhibited similar characteristics, except at high speeds where the metal engine showed better performance at the expense of inferior fuel economy. The ceramic coating did not produce any observable knock in the engine and showed no significant wear at the conclusion of the testing phase. It was concluded that judicious application of thin ceramic coatings to gasoline engines could be a useful means for improving performance and fuel economy.