The purpose of the 4-SPACE (4-Stroke Powered gasoline Auto-ignition Controlled combustion Engine) industrial research project is to research and develop an innovative controlled auto-ignition combustion process for lean burn automotive gasoline 4-stroke engines application. The engine concepts to be developed could have the potential to replace the existing stoichiometric / 3-way catalyst automotive spark ignition 4-stroke engines by offering the potential to meet the most stringent EURO 4 emissions limits in the year 2005 without requiring DeNOx catalyst technol. A redn. of fuel consumption and therefore of corresponding CO2 emissions of 15 to 20% in av. urban conditions of use, is expected for the "4-SPACE" lean burn 4-stroke engine with addnl. redn. of CO emissions. This paper describes the first set of results of different exptl. and numerical studies aiming to get such new combustion process in 4-stroke engines within the framework of this European consortium.