The Test Drive series began in 1987 with a game developed by Distinctive Software, Inc. and released for multiple computer platforms (Commodore 64/128, Amiga, and Atari ST). Test Drive III: The Passion continues the driving simulation series' tradition of introducing the player to new prototype vehicles by showcasing the Chevrolet CERV III, Pininfarina Mythos, and the Lamborghini Diablo.
Racing options include head-to-head competition against two computer-controlled drivers and time trials against the clock. The test course (Pacific Ocean to Yosemite) consists of five distinct sections (Scenic Coast, Coast Hills, Valley Farms, Foothills, and Sierra Vista) featuring varied landscapes. Each segment contains alternate routes for reaching the finish line with features ranging from bridges, tunnels and railroads to mountains, water, and hills. Gameplay includes joystick and keyboard support as well as multiple viewpoints and replay options.