England's Sebastian Coe broke the nearly four-year-old world record for the mile tonight, winning the Dubai Golden Mile in 3:48.95 at Bislet Stadium.

It was the second world record established by the 22-year-old Coe in 12 days. On July 5 he set a world record here of 1:42.33 in the 800 meters.

John Walker of New Zealand, sixth here tonight, held the old mile record of 3:49.4, established in Goteborg, Sweden, Aug. 12, 1975.

This was the 33rd world track and field record bettered at the fast Bislet Stadium and five of the record still are in the books, including the two by Coe.

Steve Scott of the United States was second tonight in 3:51.11 and Craig Masback, also of the United States, was third in 3:52.02.

Eamonn Coghlan of Ireland, who held the previous best mile time in the world this season with 3:52.9, was fourth in 3:52.45 and John Robson of Britain was fifth in 3:52.74. Walker's time was 3:52.88. In all, 10 runners broke 3:56.

"I didn't feel any strain or pain anywhere in the race and I am surprised that it went with such ease," said Coe, a graduate in economics from Loughborough University, who does not plan to race again until the European Cup final in Turin, Italy, next month.

"I didn't really come to break the record. I came to win and this afternoon the runners were talking as though it was going to be a sitter's race. This I knew suited me with my finishing speed."

The race opened up modestly, with Steve Lacy of the United States towing the field through a first lap of 58.3 seconds. Then Scott took over, getting to 800 meters in 1:55.7 with Coe second and Graham Williamson of Scotland in third position.

Into the back straight a third time Scott moved further away and Coe tucked in behind him while the others apparently decided it was too early to make their efforts, too.

It was a crucial mistake, for while Scott weakened as they turned into the home straight, Coe eased out and, maintaining his pace, took the lead with 700 meters to go.

Coe then grasped a Union Jack and ran a lap of honor.

Coe's time at the 1500-meter mark was 3:32.8, topping the European record of 3:34.0.

Williamson placed seventh in 3:53.15, Thomas Wessinghage of West Germany was eight in 3:53.22, Dave Moorcroft of Britain ninth in 3:54.35 and Ken Hall of Australia 10th in 3:55.27.

Coe, of Sheffield, England, seemed undisturbed after the fantastic race he ran under thunderous ovations from the crowd. He had been in only two mile races previously. His best previous mile time was 3:57.7 in 1977.

In other events:

U.S. Olympic champion and world record holder Edwin Moses won the 400-meter hurdles in the year's world-best time of 47.67. James King, also of the U.S., was second in 50.31.

Rod Dixon of New Zealand won the two-mile race in 8:15.18. easily outsprinting Britain's Brendan Foster, who was second in 8:16.94.