Of the total, 5,800 vehicles were limousines built by Rolls-Royce in Britain, a BMW spokesman told AFP.
The United States was most affected by the recall, with a total of 198,000 vehicles, but the problem was "without danger" for passengers, the spokesman said.
It concerned braking systems that could become "slightly more difficult to use" following an extended period of operation, he added.
BMW is the world leading premium automobile manufacturer and the US market is its most important after Germany.
In Britain, a BMW spokesman told AFP: "It's a voluntary recall, we took it upon ourselves.”
It affects large-engine 5-, 6- and 7-series (BMWs) and Rolls-Royce" cars.
Large engine models are those equipped with V8 and V12 engines.
"The potential fault is a small leak that could develop in the power-assisted braking system ... if there is a leak the car would lose some breaking power but should still be able to stop," the UK spokesman said.
"Not all the vehicles are necessarily affected by the problem" but owners should nonetheless bring them in for checks, the German spokesman said.
No accidents have been reported and a simple parts replacement would clear up the problem, he said.
Last year, BMW sold 1,068,770 of its own brand automobiles and 1,002 Rolls-Royce worldwide.