The recall affects 3 Series from the 2002 and 2003 model years. The defective air bags have an inflator housing that can rupture during deployment and send shrapnel flying into the vehicle.
The 3 Series is one of 3.4 million vehicles being recalled worldwide by six different automakers, including Toyota, Honda and General Motors. All the companies used passenger air bags made by Takata Corp.
The initial recall was announced last month in Japan, but BMW needed more time to determine which vehicles were affected.
BMW says it has had no reports of injuries because of the issue. It will contact owners and replace the air bags for free.