Re: Car analogy
""...you could program it so the car would feel the same to drive as it did with the original engine and wheels."
Maybe I or we could but it appears to me no company can, the best they can do is the feeling of a video game."
Many moons ago watching a fly on the wall series at the Empire Test Pilot School following already qualified pilots earning their test pilot wings, ISTR one episode showed us a heavily modified bizjet (I want to say a Dominie, but I could be wrong) which could be configured to fly with the handling characteristics of something else. And more recently I was reading the excellent "Into The Black" book about the development of the Space Shuttle, which also made reference to use of a modified bizjet to allow the pilots to evaluate the shuttle handling characteristics during the glide down to landing.
So whilst it clearly wouldn't be feasible to use a mixture of modified flight control software and aerodynamic mods to give a large lumbering aircraft the same handling characteristics as a much smaller nimbler aircraft, it does seem that by starting with something more capable than the aircraft you're trying to emulate, you can artificially slug its performance to approximate the desired characteristics sufficiently well to be of genuine use in roles where the accuracy of the approximated characteristics is rather important.
Which is essentially what Boeing were trying to do with MCAS - artificially reducing the effects of the additional lift generated at certain points in the flight envelope to match the characteristics of the older 737s. And that's all well and good so long as it all works exactly as intended. It might even be OK if it stops working so long as the pilots are aware of what problems can arise when it goes wrong and how to work around the problem. What's clearly not even remotely OK to anyone outside of the Boeing board, is to introduce such a system without feeling the need to let the pilots know about it.