The game iterates on its predecessor's gameplay, featuring illegal street racing, dodging traffic, and evading the police.
- Quick Race - A quickly accessible single race.
- Single Race - A single race customised by the player.
- Time Trials - Time trial races involving each track
- Cup Race - A series of various tournaments, each involving a set number of races.
- Drag Race - An one-on-one drag race in a drag strip.
- Cop Chase - A game mode which allows to play as a cop.
- Quad Race - "Two Player Race" exclusive mode involving four tracks.
- Main article: Test Drive 5/Vehicles
The game includes a selection of licensed vehicles, including additional variants for some, such as police cars available in Cop Chase mode.
Vehicles become playable in Single Race and Drag Race modes by winning tournament races. Some licensed vehicles are unlocked by winning a circuit track, whilst others are unlocked upon winning tournaments, which causes different vehicles to be unlocked depending on tournament types. In addition to licensed vehicles, fictional bonus cars can also be unlocked.
All computer controlled vehicles have the same top speeds, which depends on difficulty and vehicle dynamics settings. Arcade vehicle dynamics cause vehicles to accelerate and decelerate faster, have higher top speeds, and have greater crash effects than Simulation setting.
- Main article: Test Drive 5/Courses
Nineteen courses are available in the game, with eighteen real-world tracks, plus one extra, fictional circuit. Courses follow checkpoint and circuit track layouts, and returning locations from Test Drive 4 are featured. Winning in a checkpoint course unlocks a reverse variation, and winning in a circuit course unlocks a vehicle.
Test Drive 5's soundtrack features industrial rock and techno music from various artists.
- Fear Factory - 21st Century Jesus
- Fear Factory - Genetic Blueprint
- Fear Factory - Replica
- Junkie XL - Def Beat
- Gravity Kills - Falling
- KMFDM - Anarchy
- KMFDM - Leid Und Elend
- KMFDM - Megalomaniac
- Pitchshifter - Genius
- Pitchshifter - Microwaved
- Pitchshifter - W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G.
|Test Drive Series|
|Mainline Entries||Test Drive · The Duel: Test Drive II · Test Drive III: The Passion · Test Drive 4 · Test Drive 5 · Test Drive 6 · Test Drive: Overdrive · Test Drive Unlimited · Test Drive Unlimited 2 · Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends · Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown|
|Off-Road Series||Test Drive Off-Road · Test Drive Off-Road 2 · Test Drive Off-Road 3 · Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open|
|Other Games||Test Drive Le Mans (1999) · Test Drive Le Mans (2000) · Test Drive Cycles · Test Drive 2001 · Test Drive: Eve of Destruction|