Part of the OutRun series, Turbo OutRun eschews the non-linear branching routes of its predecessor Out Run in favour of a longer linear route across the United States, from New York to Los Angeles. There are several new game-play additions which help to further differentiate Turbo OutRun from the original.
A turbo boost greatly increases the car's speed when engaged. It must be used sparingly, however, as overuse will cause the engine to overheat, rendering the turbo useless until the engine has cooled, which indicated by an on-screen 'Overheat' meter.
Weather conditions are a new innovation, with both snow and rain having an adverse effect on driving conditions and car handling. Road surfaces also vary greatly in quality, with sand, oil, speed bumps, safety barriers, standing water and other debris all adding to the challenge.
Another new addition is the ability to upgrade the car, possible upon completion of every four of the game's sixteen stages. Available power-ups are an improved turbo boost, a more powerful engine, or better gripping tires.