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The Ford Mustang name is something that means a lot to a great many people. It’s a symbol of Americana, to say the least. That’s probably why so many people were upset at the badge on the Mustang Mach E when it came out a while back. Now, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E GT is here, and with it, more ‘Stang criticism. Can the Mach E measure up, or is the 2021 Ford Mustang the only “real” ‘Stang around?

Sure, it’s got the badge, but this is about what it means to be a Mustang, and more to the point, a Mustang GT.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E GT is a 4-door electric Mustang

A yellow 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E GT shot from the front 3/4 angle
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT might just deserve the name | Ford

In name, the new Mach E GT is a Mustang. It’s got the badge, after all. It’s also got the power numbers befitting a new ‘Stang. The GT will make 480 hp and a staggering 600 lb-ft of torque from its decidedly un-Mustang electric motors. From there, the differences between people’s idea of a ‘Stang and what the Mach E GT is in reality only become more apparent.

It’s got four doors. A Tesla-style touchscreen that screams EV, and ride height that’s more Escalade than Mustang. The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E GT also has far more range than the 2021 Ford Mustang, with a range of 270 miles. Then, there’s the price. The Mach E GT will come in right around $61,000. That buys a lot of Mustang.

The 2021 Ford Mustang GT is a V8 slice of apple pie

A grey 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Peak Mustang: the Mach 1 | Ford

$61,000 also gets you this: the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. It’s pretty much peak Mustang. That is, short of the GT500, which has a snake and not a horse on the front. Obviously, it’s impossible to compare the two on paper. The Mach 1 is all fire and noise. The Mach E GT is silence and sustainability. They’re categorically opposed as vehicles.

A lot of that has to do with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1’s 5.0-liter, 480 hp V8. Nothing says American muscle car like a big V8 and horrible MPG (17 combined if you must know). For many, this is what a Mustang looks like, not the crossover EV above.

‘Stang or not, the Mach E GT holds its own

The Mustang badge
The Mustang badge carries a lot of weight | Noel Celis via Getty Images

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Yet, as American attitudes change, it signals a shift for what it means to be a Mustang. A howling V8 is great, but it’s also a sign of an era coming to a close. The earth is getting hotter, and Ford’s shift to EVs is an acknowledgment of that. Several decades down the road, “Mustang” will mean a very different thing to a very different group of people.

The first Mach E buyers are concerned about the world their children will inherit. For some during the Mustang’s original 1964 release, “global warming” wasn’t really a concern. There were outliers, yes, and now those outliers (and their children) are and have been taking notice. The Mach E GT may not be a Mustang on paper, but it’s something revolutionary for the brand, just like it was in 1964.